Spainish Flu Pandemic of 1918-1919

Spainish Flu or La Grippe as it was known was one of the worst influenza pandemics in recorded history. Killing at least 20 million people in just one year. Thats more than the bubonic plague (1347-1351) killed in four years. Spainish flu infected 20% of the planets population. The originality of the virus(Spainish Flu or La Grippe) is unknown but it is thought to have started in China when a shift of proteins happened in a common influenza virus.

The virus spread incredibly quickly. “The Great war (1914-1918) with its mass movements in armies and aboard ships, probably aided in its rapid diffusion and attack.” The tight compact places where soldiers were kept over long periods in ships made ideal conditions for the virus to spread. During the war the Allies thought the epidemic as a biological weapon used by the Germans. Ironically over half 43,000 US (United States) soldiers fighting in Europe were not killed by the enemy but were killed by the virus.

Background and Base Knowledge
1918 was the year when the allied forces of France, England, United States of America defeated the Germans in the First world war. The people of America were working hard in factories close together so when the virus struck infections spread easily and so the population of the Western world were being rushed from one crisis to another from War to something far more deadly Disease.The scientists, chemists and physicians were rushed off their feet from being pressured to create means of killing other people efficiently and next they had to find means of saving life!

In the beginning it was thought that spainish flu was just a common cold. It then evolved into something far more deadly. The paitent could be dead in several hours, it was reported that a healthy man could be killed by the disease on his way to work. Another case was 4 ladies playing bridge late into the night and when the sun came up only one of those ladies was still alive. The actual way the host dies is that the path for air is covered and blocked by a blood tinged froth so the host will actually drown in air-suffocate (die or pass out from lack of oxygen to the brain)

external image image.tiff

Emergency Hospital for Spainish flu patients

Life of a Survivor- Robert Duncan McCaw
“My father was the reverend of lower hut who was busy assisting people who were sick with Spainish flu was glad that his son was not on a boat to Europe but unfortunately my brother died in a camp from the flu. A day later my sister and mother died from the flu. I was unware of this but on the day of peace, the day my father told me the war was over the day he told me my brother, sister and mother were dead. He took me to see my sister before she was buried and a last visit to my mother before she died. After that we thought we were going to die, we struggled to take a breath our throats rattled with the passage of hard won air. We fainted, shiver and woke up again. Death waited for us but we survived.
Death rate in 100,000sexternal image image.tiff
From this graph the ones who were in the most danger in the pandemic of death was the extremely young and the elderly.
external image image.tiff
Graph of the three waves of Spainish Flu.
From this Graph you can see the the second wave we can see that the second wave was the worst
If the Spainish flu was so terrible how come the human race is not all dead? The doctors of that time used oils, herbs (homeopathic) and drugs that were available. They mostly aimed at reducing fever or pain. Oxygen masks were given to those who had cyanosis were given oxygen masks and oxygen injected into them. But these were only used to help ease the suffering of the sick as when someone had got the virus there was little science could do.

However O'Malley and Hartman had the fantastic idea of treating spainish flu patients with the serum of convalescent patients. Using the antibodies found in the blood of the patients of the ones who survived the virus.

Date Accessed 28-9-10
1918 Influenza: The mother of all pandemics
Image 1-Graph Death rate in 100,000s
Image 2-Graph Deaths per thousand in

Date Accessed 27-9-10
The 1918 Influenza Pandemic

One family's story - the 1918 influenza pandemic
Date Accessed 29-9-10
By Corporal Robert Duncan McCaw
Swine Flu Has Spanish Flu Pedigree
By Joan Melcher

The 1918 Influenza Pandemic: Responses
Acessed on the 29-9-10