Influenza Epidemic of 1918

Influenza Epidemic of 1918

In the spring of 1918, the first wave of the influenza epidemic struck in military camps in Kansas and throughout the U.S., but was generally mild. Those who contracted the flu usually recovered after several days of typical flu-like symptoms. However, when the second wave hit in the autumn of 1918, it proved to be much more serious. Victims died within only hours or days of the symptoms appearing, with young adults ages 20-40 being among the hardest hit groups. The flu afflicted over 25% of the U.S. population, and within the year, the life expectancy dropped by a dozen years. — (NARA)

Date of event: 1918-1919


  • 675,000 fatalities estimated in the United States
  • 500 million fatalities estimated worldwide

Related Resources:

HSDL Featured Topic: Pandemics and Epidemics

HSDLSearch: Influenza Epidemic

Photo: (Credit: U.S. Army) Influenza ward at Camp Funston, KS

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