Origin of the Spanish Flu…in America

In January 1918, Loring Miner, a country doctor and coroner in Haskell County, Kansas, noticed a flu-like virus spreading rapidly among his patients. It causes decline in health at an unprecedented rate and leads to death in people with no previous health problems.

Based on an analysis of the cases Haskell sees in his district, he reports US Public Health Service His suspicions were that a novel and virulent strain of influenza virus was circulating in the communities he served. It will issue a health warning on April 5, but all major developments are already underway.

In early March 1918, at the military base of Fort Reilly, Kansas, 400 km away, cook Albert Kitchell reported to the medical service with a respiratory infection, cold, fever and headache. Within a week hundreds more soldiers were infected. A short time later, more than 1,000 people were infected at Fort Reilly, 50 of whom contracted the virus. Kitsel is the first officially recorded person to be infected with the pandemic, which will affect 600 million people worldwide in three waves over the next two years.

On the one hand, it was the specific circumstances of 1918 that caused the H1N1 virus to spread globally. At the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries, the majority of the world’s population rarely moved beyond the borders of their own habitat. With the First World War, the flow of global movements of goods and people began, which would enable them to reach the most distant parts of the world in a very short period of time.

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Governments of belligerent countries fear negative impacts on the morale of their populations and suppress reporting that might raise awareness of the danger. Because neutral Spain did not implement such censorship, the first reports of the deadly virus would go out into the world. Spanish flu To this day, it remains an incorrect but very common name for the disease.

On the other hand, there have been flaws in the public response to the crisis, reminiscent of the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, which helped the virus spread explosively. Lack of leadership at the federal level, widely divergent actions at lower administrative levels, as well as lack of and inconsistent communication are the most notable failures.

As a result, the virus first spread to a network of military bases spread across the United States and from there spread to the public through holidays and weekend releases. The first wave of the epidemic affects many people, but has a relatively low death rate. At a time when heated debates over the events of the war and the prohibition that was finally enacted in 1919 are at the forefront, it has been under the radar in many quarters.

By the time the second, more deadly wave of epidemics began in the fall of 1918, hundreds of thousands of infected American soldiers had been transferred to the European theater of war. In the cramped and unsanitary conditions of the mass forces at the frontline, the virus spreads like wildfire, including among civilians. American soldiers die as a result Three days of fever Or that Purple Death, French from purulent bronchitis. In Italian hospitals, soldiers believed this wholesale Sand fly fever To lose, in German Lightning leakage And that Flanders fever.

When the epidemic ends after the third wave, which manifests itself in local outbreaks, only the most remote corners of the earth are spared. Indigenous peoples affected by poverty or war have paid a particularly heavy price. Americans Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Estimate that at least 50 million people are affected by the epidemic. Some estimates put the number of victims as high as 100 million.

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