Influenza pandemic of 1918
The Influenza pandemic of 1918 was a serious pandemic of influenza. It lasted for three years, from January 1918 to December 1920. About 500 million people were infected across the world with a population of 1.80 billion people. The pandemic spread to remote Pacific Islands and the Arctic. It killed 50 million to 100 million people— three to five percent of the world's population at the time. This means it was one of the deadliest natural disasters in human history.
To maintain morale, wartime censors reduced reports of illness and mortality in Germany, Britain (United Kingdom), France, and the United States; but papers could report the epidemic's effects in neutral Spain (such as the grave illness of King Alfonso XIII). This situation created the false impression of Spain being especially hard-hit. It also resulted in the nickname Spanish flu.
Often, influenza outbreaks kill young people, or the elderly, or those patients that are already weakened. This was not the case for the 1918 pandemic, which killed mainly healthy young adults. Modern research, using virus taken from the bodies of frozen victims, has concluded that the virus kills through a cytokine storm (overreaction of the body's immune system). The strong immune reactions of young adults ravaged the body. But, the weaker immune systems of children and middle-aged adults caused fewer deaths among those groups.
There is not enough historical and epidemiological data to show where the pandemic started. The pandemic may be a cause of the outbreak of encephalitis lethargica in the 1920s. Another flu pandemic had happened in the 21st century that turns out to be new strain of H1N1. The outbreak began in Mexico and then the United States; spread to the world.
Gallery[change | change source]
Albertan farmers wore masks to protect themselves from the flu.
A street car conductor in Seattle in 1918 refusing to allow passengers aboard who are not wearing masks
Red Cross workers remove a flu victim in St. Louis, Missouri (1918)
Influenza ward at Walter Reed Hospital during the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918–1919
Burying flu victims, North River, Canada (1918)
References[change | change source]
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- Valentine, Vikki (August 20, 2008). "Origins of the 1918 Pandemic: The Case for France". NPR.org. National Public Radio (NPR). Retrieved February 4, 2016.
- Anderson, Susan (August 29, 2006). "Analysis of Spanish flu cases in 1918–1920 suggests transfusions might help in bird flu pandemic". EurekAlert.org: The Global Source for Science News. American College of Physicians. Retrieved Feb 4, 2016.
- Barry, John M. (2004). The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Greatest Plague in History. Viking Penguin. p. 171. ISBN 0-670-89473-7.
- Galvin, John (July 31, 2007). "Spanish Flu Pandemic: 1918". Popular Mechanics. Hearst Communications, Inc. Retrieved February 4, 2016.
- Tisoncik JR; Korth MJ; et al. 2012. "Into the Eye of the Cytokine Storm". Microbiology and Molecular Biology Reviews. 76 (1): 16–32. doi:10.1128/MMBR.05015-11. Retrieved February 4, 2016. Unknown parameter
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- Vilensky JA; Foley P; et al. 2007. "Children and encephalitis lethargica: A historical review". Pediatric Neurology. Elsevier. 37 (2): 79–84. doi:10.1016/j.pediatrneurol.2007.04.012. PMID 17675021.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)