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The Influenza of 1918

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After World War I had ended, American citizens celebrated with joy as they welcomed the American soldiers back home. What Americans did not realize was that the end of World War I was just the beginning of a year of devastation. Upon returning home from the fronts, the soldiers were not only welcomed home by the citizens of America, but also introduced a new threat that led to much desolation throughout the American nation. Following the return of the army, reported cases of the flu had significantly risen. The influenza was different from the other illnesses people faced, because it differed genetically from previous influenzas. At first, this was not a concern since physicians had already obtained vaccines and treatments for the flu. What these physicians did not consider was that each year the influenza changes because it becomes resistant to the antibiotics and changes in its genetic marker. This led to the importance of locating the source of the virus. Due to the lack of preparation and knowledge of technology in 1918, the plague was easily transmitted throughout the United States at a rapid speed, threatening the lives of numerous citizens. Because it caused such a widespread of fear and sickness among the American public, it encouraged scientists and physicians to discover a cure to prevent more deaths. Upon searching for the initial cause of the plague and the cure for it, which was critical to avoid spreading and causing further harm, it influenced newer technology to be created helping prevent a similar outbreak in the future.
There are many theories as to how the plague initially began. It is widely believed that the influenza originally started in Asia, since many pandemics prior to 1918 began in the Asian region. ...

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...al Archives and Records Administration. “The Deadly Virus: The Influenza Epidemic of 1918.” Last accessed April 21, 2014. http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/influenza-epidemic/.
1. Alfred W. Crosby, American’s Forgotten Pandemic. New York, Cambridge University Press, 2003.
2. Barry, John M. The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History. New York, Penguin Group (USA), January 25, 2005.

3. “The Influenza Pandemic of 1918.” Last modified February 2005, http://virus.stanford.edu/uda/.
4. United States Department of Health and Human Services. “The Great Pandemic: The United States in 1918-1919.” Last accessed April 21, 2014. http://www.flu.gov/pandemic/history/1918/index.html.
Jeffery K. Taubenberger and David Morens, 1918 Influenza: The Mother of All Pandemics, Emerging Infectious Disease Journal (2006): Volume 12, doi: 10.3201/eid1201.050979.
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