Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Spanish Influenza Outbreak of 1918

650,000 American Died

[image:National Museum of Health and Medicine]

by Mondoreb & Little Baby Ginn

The "Super Bug" MRSA is all the talk of TV and print media this week. School officials nationwide are taking steps to calm fears that schoolchildren may be at risk.

MRSA can be beaten simply by washing your hands. But back in 1918, there was another Super Bug--one that killed over 50 million people worldwide. A look back at the Spanish Influenza outbreak that terrified not just school boards, but the entire world.

The disease claimed well over a half million lives in the U.S. The Baltimore Sun has a series of articles from nearly 90 years ago that examines the Spanish Influenza outbreak here in the United States. From the Baltimore Sun:
In 1918, a virus spread across the planet -- unstoppable, incurable. In Baltimore, the impact was shocking. And as World War I was coming to an end, a new battle was shaping up in homes, schools and neighborhoods. By the end of October the virus had claimed more than 3,000 Baltimoreans. By spring it had killed an estimated 50 million people -- 650,000 of them Americans. Nearly a century later, the people who lived through it and the victims' families still recall their experiences with the flu.
With all the coverage that Asian Bird Flu gathered and the money expended against it, it was nothing like the Spanish Influenza. Such a disease today would paralyze the planet, one thinks.


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