Spanish Flu 1918: 19 Sickening Events During the Spanish Flu of 1918
19 Sickening Events During the Spanish Flu of 1918

19 Sickening Events During the Spanish Flu of 1918

Larry Holzwarth - May 23, 2019

19 Sickening Events During the Spanish Flu of 1918
To this day the source of the Spanish Flu pandemic is debated by scholars and scientists. Wikimedia

19. Where did Spanish Flu come from?

The origins of Spanish Flu remain debated among medical professionals, scientists, epidemiologists, historians, and others. Some postulate that the virus originated in birds and hogs, was transmitted to humans, and then transferred around the world. A leading theory for years was that the epicenter for the virus was Fort Riley, Kansas, among the animals bred to feed American troops. Others postulate that the virus originated in birds as a type of avian flu and transferred directly to humans, with humans passing the virus on to swine. Still, others suggest that the virus originated in China, supporting the belief that it was passed to the troops in the trenches of Europe by Chinese laborers brought to the battlefront to build infrastructure.

In the 21st century efforts to understand how the virus developed, what caused it to mutate into the deadlier virus of the second wave, and how it spread, continue to produce often conflicting theories. The fact is though efforts to understand what the virus was continuing, a definitive answer remains elusive. The pandemic which killed so many people that it was compared to the Black Death of the Middle Ages – and may well have killed a greater percentage of the population of Europe than its predecessor – remains a mystery, even as its history becomes more widely known.


Where do we find this stuff? Here are our sources:

“Origins of the Spanish Influenza Pandemic (1918-1920) and its relation to the First World War”. Anton Erkoreka, Journal of Molecular and Genetic Medicine. November 30, 2009. Online

“How a killer flu spread from western Kansas to the world”. Beccy Tanner, Wichita (Kansas) Eagle. February 19, 2018

“1918 Pandemic Influenza: Three Waves”. Article, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Online

“The Plague of the Spanish Lady – The Influenza Pandemic of 1918 – 1919”. R. Collier. 1974

“Flu: The Story of the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918 and the Search for the Virus That Caused It”. Gina Kolata. 2001

“A History of Influenza”. C. W. Potter, Journal of Applied Microbiology. October, 2001

“The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Greatest Plague in History”. John M. Barry. 2005

“America’s Forgotten Pandemic: The Influenza of 1918”. Alfred W. Crosby. 2003

“History of 1918 Flu Pandemic. Article, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Online

“The Great Pandemic”. Article, AHA Staff. May 4, 2009. Online

“Inside the Swift, Deadly History of the Spanish Flu Pandemic”. Toby Saul, National Geographic History Magazine. Online

“Out in the Cold and Back: New-Found Interest in the Great Flu”. Guy Beiner, Cultural and Social History, Volume 3. 2006

“A Cruel Wind: Pandemic Flu in America, 1918-1920”. D. Pettit & Janice Bailie. 2008

“How the Horrific 1918 Flu Spread Across America”. John M. Barry, Smithsonian Magazine. November, 2017

“Ten Famous People Who Survived the 1918 Flu”. David A. Lovett, October 24, 2017

“The legacy of the Spanish Flu”. Suzanne Shablovsky, Science Magazine. September 22, 2017. Online