Revising the 1927 estimate that 21.5 million people died during the 1918 epidemic, researches recalculate the numbers at 30 million. The Spanish Flu -- something that started as just regular flu in the US -- spread to the whole of Europe and eventually the world causing catastrophic damage to the lives of millions from 1918 to 1920. In the morning, the dead bodies are stacked about the morgue like cordwood.” That day, 63 men die of influenza. The general population was familiar with patterns of pandemic disease in the late 19th and early 20th centuries: typhoid, yellow fever, diphtheria and cholera all occurred near the same time. One explanation for the rapid decline in the lethality of the disease is that doctors became more effective in the prevention and treatment of pneumonia that developed after the victims had contracted the virus.  This is unusual since influenza is typically most deadly to weak individuals, such as infants under age two, adults over age 70, and the immunocompromised. However, the first wave caused a significant disruption in the military operations of World War I, with three-quarters of French troops, half the British forces, and over 900,000 German soldiers sick. , The 1918 Spanish flu was the first of two pandemics caused by H1N1 influenza A virus; the second was the 2009 swine flu pandemic.  This more serious type would cause heliotrope cyanosis to develop, whereby the skin would first develop two mahogany spots over the cheekbones which would then over a few hours spread to color the entire face blue, followed by black coloration first in the extremities and then further spreading to the limbs and the torso. In Australia, 12,000 people died, while in New Zealand, the flu killed 6,400 Europeans and 2,500 indigenous Maori in just six weeks. The newest estimate is that between 50 million and 100 million died.  Cities were affected worse than rural areas.  A large factor in the worldwide occurrence of the flu was increased travel. Public health officials begin education programs and publicity about dangers of coughing and sneezing; careless disposal of “nasal discharges.”. An effort to recreate the Spanish flu strain (a subtype of avian strain H1N1) was a collaboration among the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, the USDA ARS Southeast Poultry Research Laboratory, and Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. The cases keep on popping every now and then, but in isolated instances never spiralling out of control to reach its previous pandemic level. , As there were no antiviral drugs to treat the virus, and no antibiotics to treat the secondary bacterial infections, doctors would rely on a random assortment of medicines with varying degrees of effectiveness, such as aspirin, quinine, arsenics, digitalis, strychnine, epsom salts, castor oil, and iodine. The vulnerability of healthy young adults and the lack of vaccines and treatments created a major public health crisis, causing at least 50 million deaths worldwide, including approximately 675,000 in the United States. By this date, 5,000 have died in New Mexico. , The basic reproduction number of the virus was between 2 and 3.  The flu has also been linked to the outbreak of encephalitis lethargica in the 1920s. Sept. 24, 1918 Such evolution of influenza is a common occurrence: there is a tendency for pathogenic viruses to become less lethal with time, as the hosts of more dangerous strains tend to die out. At Versailles Peace Conference, while negotiating the end of World War I with other world leaders, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson collapses. avd. On November 11, 1918, the armistice is signed in France ending WWI. The 1918 flu pandemic virus kills an estimated 195,000 Americans during October alone.  For the same reason men also were more likely to have pre-existing tuberculosis, which severely worsened the chances of recovery. Because pigs are more readily infected with avian influenza viruses than are humans, they were suggested as the original recipients of the virus, passing the virus to humans sometime between 1913 and 1918.  One observer wrote, "One of the most striking of the complications was hemorrhage from mucous membranes, especially from the nose, stomach, and intestine. Some parts of Asia had 30 times higher death rates than some parts of Europe, and generally, Africa and Asia had higher rates, while Europe, North America, and Asia had lower ones. 1997 Now, some of the lessons from that pandemic are still relevant today -- and could help prevent an … Spanish Flu pandemic began as just regular flu in the US, spread to the whole of Europe and eventually the world causing catastrophic damage to the lives of millions. Consequently, during modern pandemics, health officials look for deadlier strains of a virus when it reaches places with social upheaval.  There were also beliefs that the Germans were behind it, for example by poisoning the aspirin manufactured by Bayer, or by releasing poison gas from U-boats.. The 1918 flu virus is thought to have originated in birds, pigs or both.  It was less severe than the second wave but still much more deadly than the initial first wave.  This huge death toll resulted from an extremely high infection rate of up to 50% and the extreme severity of the symptoms, suspected to be caused by cytokine storms. The rapid pace of the pandemic, which, for example, killed most of its victims in the United States within less than nine months, resulted in limited media coverage. Using lung tissue taken 79 years earlier during the autopsy of a U.S. Army private who died of the 1918 flu, scientists at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology analyze the 1918 virus and conclude that it is a unique virus but is related to the “swine flu.” According to one researcher: “The hemagglutinin gene matches closest to swine influenza viruses, showing that this virus came into humans from pigs.” (Science, March 21, 1997). From New Zealand, the flu reached Tonga (killing 8% of the population), Nauru (16%), and Fiji (5%, 9,000 people). It was caused by an H1N1 virus with genes of avian origin. , A 2006 study in the Journal of Political Economy found that "cohorts in utero during the pandemic displayed reduced educational attainment, increased rates of physical disability, lower income, lower socioeconomic status, and higher transfer payments received compared with other birth cohorts.
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