● CHECK OUT OUR 2ND CHANNEL: https://youtube.com/TheBestSpaceArchives
✚ Watch our “Old America” PLAYLIST: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLaGAbbh1M3ImKavW8ZY0aZyFK1c-PLCAj
In 1918-1919, the worst flu epidemic in recorded history killed an estimated 50 – 100 million people worldwide. The U.S. death toll was 675,000 – five times the number of U.S. soldiers died in World War I.
In the documentary we meet individuals who describe what it was like to live through the 1918 flu pandemic. Their experiences raise questions about the pandemic: Why did it infect so many people? Where did this lethal flu come from? How can we keep a pandemic like that from occurring again? The film follows the search for answers from an expedition to Alaska in 1951 to collect tissue from bodies buried in the permafrost, to the scientists and epidemiologists working on the same questions today. It explains the relevance of research into the 1918 pandemic to the threat of current and future flu pandemics.
Historical Background / Context:
The 1918 flu pandemic (January 1918 – December 1920) was an unusually deadly influenza pandemic, the first of the two pandemics involving H1N1 influenza virus. It infected 500 million people across the world, including remote Pacific islands and the Arctic, and resulted in the deaths of 50 to 100 million (three to five percent of the world’s population).
Disease had already greatly limited life expectancy in the early twentieth century. A considerable spike occurred at the time of the pandemic, specifically the year 1918. Life expectancy in America dropped by about 12 years.
Most influenza outbreaks disproportionately kill juvenile, elderly, or already weakened patients; in contrast, the 1918 pandemic predominantly killed previously healthy young adults. Modern research, using virus taken from the bodies of frozen victims, has concluded that the virus causes cytokine storm (overreaction of the body’s immune system). The strong immune reactions of young adults ravaged the body, whereas the weaker immune systems of children and middle-aged adults resulted in fewer deaths among those groups.
Historical and epidemiological data are inadequate to identify the pandemic’s geographic origin. It was implicated in the outbreak of encephalitis lethargica in the 1920s.
To maintain morale during World War I, censors minimized early reports of illness and mortality in Germany, Britain, France, and the United States; but papers were free to report the epidemic’s effects in neutral Spain (such as the grave illness of King Alfonso XIII), creating a false impression of Spain as especially hard hit – thus the pandemic’s nickname Spanish Flu.
The 1918 Influenza Pandemic in America | Struggle Against the Spanish Flu | Documentary