Turtledove
Advertisement

Soldiers ill with Spanish influenza at a hospital ward at Camp Funston, Kansas.

The 1918 flu pandemic (the "Spanish flu") was an influenza pandemic, and the first of the two pandemics involving H1N1 influenza virus (the second was the 2009 flu pandemic, an outbreak of swine flu). It was an unusually severe and deadly pandemic that spread across the world, concurrently with the violence of World War I and the Russian Civil War. The name "Spanish" results from Spain being the first nation to report it widely in the media, as this neutral country had no need for wartime censorship. Thus, King Alfonso XIII of Spain was publicly known to be suffering, while the ills of King George V of Britain and Wilhelm II, German Emperor were state secrets. However, historical and epidemiological data are inadequate to identify the true geographic origin.

Most victims were healthy young adults, in contrast to most influenza outbreaks, which predominantly affect juvenile, elderly, or weakened patients. The flu pandemic was implicated in the outbreak of encephalitis lethargica in the 1920s. The pandemic lasted from January 1918 to December 1920, spreading even to the Arctic and remote Pacific islands. Between 50 and 130 million died, making it one of the deadliest natural disasters in human history. Even using the lower estimate of 50 million people, 3% of the world's population (which was 1.86 billion at the time) died of the disease. Some 500 million, or 27%, were infected.

1918 Flu Pandemic in "One Touch of Hippolyta"[]

The influenza of 1919 took a great toll on the legendary Rowbotham-Finch family of Graustarkton, Massachusetts, killing famed archaeologist Hiram Rowbotham-Finch along with his son and grandson.

1918 Flu Pandemic in Southern Victory[]

The Spanish Influenza struck not long after the end of the Great War, killing many people. The flu was very devastating to many businesses, especially in the Confederate States as they tried to pull themselves out of their post-war economic slump. US sailor Sam Carsten caught the flu but survived.

1918 Flu Pandemic in Worldwar[]

Sam Yeager had caught the Spanish Influenza back in 1918, and survived, but at the cost of his teeth. He wore false teeth for the remainder of his life.

References[]

Advertisement