Infectious disease trivia:The end of the World War flu virus

In 1918, the tragic World War I entered its fourth year. In March of the same year, a…

In 1918, the tragic World War I entered its fourth year. In March of the same year, a large number of US troops rushed to Europe to fight in order to ease the increasingly unfavorable war situation of the Allies. But no one thought that arriving with the American soldiers on board was an unprecedented and terrible plague: the Spanish flu.


In early April, in Brest, where the Americans landed, the flu began to appear. Since then, the flu has swept across continental Europe and the world at an alarming rate, causing an unprecedented disaster. Unlike previous flus, the group with the highest mortality rate in Spain is young adults aged 20-35 years, which has greatly depleted the war power of the warring parties.

Infectious disease trivia:The end of the World War flu virus
Infectious disease trivia:The end of the World War flu virus

The United States has killed 548,000 people due to influenza, accounting for 0.5% of the national population. Excluding Northern Ireland, the United Kingdom killed 215,000 people due to the flu. The death toll from flu in France is 166,000. The number of deaths due to influenza in Germany was 225,000, and the reserve force of 32 divisions was cancelled.

The flu even spread to cold Alaska, and the Inuit who had no immunity to the flu died almost in the whole village.

The flu was called the Spanish flu, not because the source was in Spain. At that time, the countries participating in the war were strictly sealed, and the flu epidemic was not known to the outside world. Because Spain did not participate in the war, it did not block the epidemic, and the media reported more on the disease.

On November 11, 1918, the exhausted warring parties finally signed a truce agreement in France, ending the bloody and long World War I. Countries turned to deal with the raging flu, but it was not until May of the following year that the Spanish flu gradually subsided.

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