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Flu How the flu wiped out 675,000 Americans after World War I
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  1. #1
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    How the flu wiped out 675,000 Americans after World War I

    http://www.worldwar1centennial.org/i...ce=govdelivery

    How the flu wiped out 675,000 Americans after World War I

    Emergency hospital during Influenza epidemic Camp Funston Kansas NCP 1603Soldiers from Fort Riley, Kansas, ill with Spanish influenza at a hospital ward at Camp Funston.
    By Commissioner Libby H. O'Connell, Ph.D.
    United States World War One Centennial Commission, via the New York Post newspaper web site
    They survived the trenches of the Western front, machine-gun fire in No Manís Land and horrifying chemical-gas attacks ó only to come home and die of the flu.
    One hundred years ago this winter, the troopships began returning to America, carrying tens of thousands of Doughboys home from the Great War. With terrible irony, it would be microbes that would soon bury many of these American heroes.
    Public-health authorities were powerless in the face of an unrelenting foe that would kill 50 million worldwide and infect half a billion more before the flu burned itself out.
    While the nation paused last year to offer a centennial remembrance of the sacrifices demanded by World War I, there remains little appreciation for the influenza pandemic that followed it, adding viral carnage to the human brutality of the conflict.
    Today, we understand much better how the flu worked, why it took so many young, healthy people and how to prevent its spread. But all this was a mystery to frantic physicians at the time, who were overwhelmed by the enormity of it all.
    Read the entire article on the New York Post web site.


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  2. #2
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    http://nypost.com/2019/01/25/how-the...r-world-war-i/

    How the flu wiped out 675,000 Americans after World War I

    By Libby O’Connell
    They survived the trenches of the Western front, machine-gun fire in No Man’s Land and horrifying chemical-gas attacks — only to come home and die of the flu.

    One hundred years ago this winter, the troopships began returning to America, carrying tens of thousands of Doughboys home from the Great War. With terrible irony, it would be microbes that would soon bury many of these American heroes.

    Public-health authorities were powerless in the face of an unrelenting foe that would kill 50 million worldwide and infect half a billion more before the flu burned itself out.

    While the nation paused last year to offer a centennial remembrance of the sacrifices demanded by World War I, there remains little appreciation for the influenza pandemic that followed it, adding viral carnage to the human brutality of the conflict.

    Today, we understand much better how the flu worked, why it took so many young, healthy people and how to prevent its spread. But all this was a mystery to frantic physicians at the time, who were overwhelmed by the enormity of it all.

    Several factors brought about the pandemic that history has *inaccurately labeled the Spanish Flu (public-health historians suggest there could have been any number of locations worldwide where this particular flu strain took its first victims, but Spain wasn’t one of them).

    By 1918, America had mobilized for war and disrupted its population in an unprecedented manner. Even the Civil War hadn’t seen this many young Americans placed in such close proximity, from training camps to troop trains to factories.

    All this activity in tight quarters had unexpected consequences that set the stage for the pandemic. The same went for the disease’s victims in Europe and elsewhere, as well.

    In America, the first warning came with a flu outbreak at a Kansas military barracks that would kill some 50 troops in March 1918. As inexplicable as that was for the surgeon-general of the Army, it was only a hint of the horrors that were to come.

    Erupting in France, where entire regions lay in ruins, the disease would start to extract a heavy toll among soldiers and civilians alike. But the flu was curiously selective both in Europe and back home in American hospitals.

    What was particularly perplexing to officials was why so many seemingly healthy American soldiers were gasping for breath and then dying.

    Science would later reveal that a young person’s strong immune system would aggressively react to the flu, and by doing so, create so much congestion in the lungs that the victims essentially drowned in their own fluids.

    Overseas, some 43,000 Doughboys would die from the flu, while 675,000 American civilians would succumb back home.

    What was particularly perplexing to officials was why so many seemingly healthy American soldiers were gasping for breath and then dying.

    A variety of containment strategies were employed, but none of them were particularly effective. In some cities, elevators were shut down so people wouldn’t be herded together in close quarters. Stadiums were closed, and schools were emptied by decree.

    Eventually, the disease ran its course.

    The history raises a discomfiting question: Are we prepared for this century’s outbreaks?

    Physicians and scientists today can identify strains of viruses with great precision, something their counterparts in 1919 couldn’t do, and we have much better drugs. But in other respects, we are just as vulnerable as we were then.

    Viruses, for starters, have proved adept at developing resistance to our drugs. And the potential for rapid spread of disease is, if anything, heightened today, *owing to the ease and availability of air travel and the globalized nature of the economy.

    Thankfully, there are multiple international organizations collaborating to combat flu, and immunization helps a great deal. But the specter of pandemics in new and virulent forms isn’t a remote historic footnote.

    As we consider the deadly price of human conflict a century ago, we should also remember the devastating toll taken by a disease whose rapid spread was made possible by the chaos of war — and keep alive its public-health lessons today.

    Libby O’Connell is the chief historian emeritus at the History Channel and a member of the US World War I Centennial Commission, dedicated to building a national World War I Memorial in Washington.

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    My mother's whole family had this flu in 1918. Mom was only four years old, but she always remembered it clearly. Her parents, her older sister, my mom, and her new baby brother all came down with it. The baby was only 6 weeks old and he died but the rest of the family survived.
    Terri in Indiana

    "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." - Plato

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