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Pandemic, 1918

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Journal Article - Open Access

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National Museum of Health and Medicine, J-9 DHA Silver Spring United States

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The epidemic of influenza, prevalent in Europe during the Great War, was watched with interest everywhere, not only because of its military importance, but also because of the danger of its spreading to other continents. The prediction that this would occur, made months before its realization, was verified on an even larger scale than had been anticipated, for in the autumn of 1918, this acute respiratory infection passed over the United States like a huge wave, taking a tremendous toll in human lives.... In 1918, an exceptionally deadly strain of influenza killed between 21 and 50 million people worldwide. The pandemic swept through the United States at the height of this countrys mobilization for World War I and killed 43,000 American service members, roughly 40 of all U.S. war dead. Over 25 of the U.S. population contracted the illness and approximately 675,000 civilians died.

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