The Great Influenza

opinion Essay
736 words
736 words

The influenza pandemic of 1918-1919 killed more people than the Great War, known today as World War I (WWI), at somewhere between twenty and forty million people. (1) Influenza is a virus that appeared in 1918 and caused a pandemic. It made an enormous impact that is still significant to the world today. It has pushed scientists to make advancements in the medicine and vaccination industry that continue to grow each and every day. Influenza may be a horrible thing, but without it we wouldn’t be where we are today.
In the fall of 1918 influenza appeared for the first time in pockets across the globe. At first it was pushed aside as a case of the common cold. The influenza of that season, however, was far more than a cold. In the two years that this scourge ravaged the earth, a fifth of the world's population was infected. (1) Including twenty-eight percent of all Americans. In those two years an estimated six hundred and seventy-five thousand Americans died because of influenza. This was the greatest scare Americans had ever seen from a single disease. People between the age of twenty and forty were at the greatest risk of infection. Even President Woodrow Wilson suffered from the flu in early 1919 while negotiating the crucial treaty of Versailles to end the World War. The public health departments distributed gauze masks to be worn in public. Stores could not hold sales; funerals were limited to 15 minutes. Some towns required a signed certificate to enter and railroads would not accept passengers without them. (1) Influenza had killed nearly as many American servicemen as died in battle, ten times and over that number of American civilians, and twice as many people in the world as died in combat on all fronts in the entire four...

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...ty for nearly one hundred years now with no sign of stopping anytime soon. We can only guess what scientific discoveries it will bring in the future.

Works Cited

1. Billings, Molly. “The Influenza Pandemic of 1918.” Modified RDS, 2005. Web. 12 Nov. 2013.
2. Ng, Sophia, et al. "The Effect Of Age And Recent Influenza Vaccination History On The Immunogenicity And Efficacy Of 2009-10 Seasonal Trivalent Inactivated Influenza Vaccination In Children." Plos One 8.3 (2013): e59077. MEDLINE. Web. 15 Nov. 2013.
3. Kamradt-Scott, Adam. "The Politics Of Medicine And The Global Governance Of Pandemic Influenza." International Journal Of Health Services: Planning, Administration, Evaluation 43.1 (2013): 105-121. MEDLINE with Full Text. Web. 15 Nov. 2013.
4. Crosby, Alfred W. America’s Forgotten Pandemic. Austin: Cambridge University, 2003. Print.

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that the influenza pandemic of 1918-1919 killed more people than the great war, known today as world war i.
  • Explains that influenza was far more than a cold and killed nearly as many american servicemen as killed in battle, ten times and over that number of american civilians.
  • Explains that the suddenness of the virus forced scientists to work harder than ever before to develop a cure and vaccine to keep our military forces strong and prevent deaths of loved ones.
  • Opines that influenza has had a long-term significance on the entire world.
  • Concludes that influenza has completely shaped the world around us. the medical field continues to grow and learn because of the affects and impacts of a single virus.
  • Cites billings, molly, ng, sophia, and samradt-scott, adam. the influenza pandemic of 1918.
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