Influenza Epidemic Kills Millions Worldwide (Great Events: 1900-2001)
Article abstract: Beginning in the spring of 1918 and continuing through 1919, a new strain of deadly influenza circled the globe, leaving a trail of death and chaos behind it. At least 30 million people died throughout the world.
A New Flu
Influenza, or “flu,” is an illness caused by a virus. Many people become ill each year with influenza because the virus mutates, or changes, from year to year. People who have built up immunity to one strain of the flu are still susceptible to other forms of the disease. Fortunately, influenza, although widespread, is not usually a serious illness, and people generally recover without serious side effects. In general, only the very young and the very old are at risk for serious complications.
In 1918, however, a new strain of influenza surfaced, quickly spreading throughout the world and leaving a trail of death behind it. Although symptoms associated with influenza are usually not worse than those associated with a bad cold, the 1918 virus caused bleeding from the nose and from the lungs. People exposed to the disease were often dead within three days.
The First and Second Waves
Researchers are still unable to pinpoint the exact location of the origin of the 1918 influenza. Some argue that although the disease was commonly called the “Spanish Influenza,” or even the “Spanish Lady,” it is likely that the 1918 flu began in the...
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