Influenza Epidemic of 1918 Categories: 03-March Timelines: Man-Made Disasters

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


1918-1919:

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)

Impact:

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

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