The Spanish Flu of 1918: How It Affected the Whole World
About hundred years ago, as much as 500 million people across the globe were affected by the influenza pandemic of 1918, or “The Spanish Flu”. There had been a lot of questions raised regarding its origins, especially when a corpse of a Spanish Flu victim was dug up in an Alaskan permafrost.
To begin with, it is worth knowing that it is not named the Spanish Flu because it started in Spain. A news media from the nation was only the first ones to disseminate information on the epidemic.
On the same period, there are still no advanced technologies or proper drugs to cure the affected. People are only required to wear face masks in public places in order to prevent the spread of the virus. The Spanish Flu can be very fatal as it hits even the people with the strongest immune system. In fact, healthy people aging from 20-40 are more prone to the disease. They even include several servicemen from World War I.
It is still a mystery on how and where does the influenza of 1918 came from, but some researchers are suggesting the first outbreak started in the military camp Fort Riley on March 11, 1918. There are approximately 100 soldiers that got affected on the same day. It did not even reach a month for the virus to widely spread among the area as dozens of soldiers already died of pneumonia in a span of one week.
Soldiers have been roaming around through crowded trains and ships which made it easier for the virus to spread among themselves. The spread was so fast and it only took place during the spring of the same year. Troops that fought at the World War became the prime carriers of the virus through the world.
Apart from one particular area where the virus started, pandemic waves from Greenland and Russian remote areas greatly contributed to the widespread.
The affected will experience the typical symptoms of flu (over fatigue, chills, and heavy fever). Victims recover within a couple of days. On the other, the second wave was highly fatal. It would only take hours for sufferers to start showing symptoms, like being suffocated with a fluid filling their lungs and skin gradually turning blue. Some are even experiencing severe nosebleeds to the point that nurses dodge victims to avoid being sprayed with blood.
Wiped out More People than World War I
Given that U.S. soldiers are the ones who carried the flu across the globe, more of them died due to the flu than actually getting killed on the battlefield. About 36 percent of the U.S. Navy got injured during the fight, while 40 percent were hit by the Spanish flu. This information is not even guaranteed to be accurate as some places already lost track on the deaths.
On the bright side…
As of today, modern medicine can cure almost everything, but things were a lot different before. Doctors do not have the right resources to cure the 1918 flu. However, it did help scientists create vaccines in preparation for another virus like the Spanish flu.