The Spread of Influenza How the United States Military Caused a Global Pandemic

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Elizabeth Schluter


Influenza—what at one time was regarded as one of the deadliest and most prevalent diseases in the world—has become known as a harmful, but treatable, disease that garners more annoyance than fear in its victims. The Center for Disease Control estimates that “influenza has resulted in between 9 million – 45 million illnesses, between 140,000 – 810,000 hospitalizations and between 12,000 – 61,0 00 deaths annually since 2010.” This high infection rate, coupled with its relatively low mortality rate, granted influenza the reputation it has today. However, while that might be the case for today, this was not what influenza was thought as in the early twentieth century during the 1918 Influenza Epidemic. The 1918 Influenza Epidemic granted influenza its designation as one of the most prevalent and deadly diseases in history. With death estimates around 50 million worldwide, the 1918 Influenza Pandemic has since gone down in history as the one of deadliest disease outbreaks ever.


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