Deadly Like Ebola — It Was Quickly Forgotten As Soon As It Passed

It's estimated that 20 - 40 million people died of it. A epidemiologist's nightmare, a quick, deadly, airborne disease, known as "La Grippe," or "The Spanish Flu." This should be ringing some bells due to the increasing rate of infection from the Ebola virus in Africa.

That's more people dead, than were killed in the Great War, WWI. That war was just wrapping up when it hit. More people died in one year, than four years of the Black Death (Bubonic Plague). 

"La Grippe" Better Known As The Spanish Flu   

The disease was believed to have originated in Spain hence the name, hitting mostly able young men in their early 20's and 30's. Not much has been written about it. Medical history tended to over look it, focusing more on the pictures of piles of dead bodies on carts than the disease itself. World War I took centre stage. The war was over, no one wanted to talk about another disease. They already had polio and leprosy to deal with.  

After all, it was just the flu, which wasn't that uncommon nor newsworthy. Everyone got the flu at one time or other and misdiagnosis was a very common occurrence. Doctors would recommend a few days in bed as they would any other flu. The patient would go home to rest but instead of getting better, got worse. Sometimes the disease was abrupt, only taking a few hours after being infected before death occurred, with others it might have taken weeks. 

The real beginning is unknown, but people sat up and took notice when one man named, Arthur Nicholas. On September 7, 1918 he came into the hospital, at Camp Devens army base near Boston, complaining of having an upset stomach. At first they thought he had meningitis his symptoms were that severe. The next day, 12 people had it. By the 12th, the doctors had a diagnosis, a new strain of influenza, a killer virus. 

It was never identified, then or now and once it passed, it has never re-emerged again.

Luckily, for those that survived, it left no marks, no physical deformities, or disabilities. Life continued as normal and the dead got buried. Forgotten.

People started to believe it could never happen again, until... 

...others like H1N1 and HIV raised their ugly heads. And now, Ebola.

Dog Brindle


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