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The actual numbers are thought to be much higher. While the Spanish Flu was the worst flu pandemic in modern history, in some ways the world was lucky. While it was 20 times more lethal than ordinary seasonal flu, the Spanish Flu was not as infectious as other illness such as the common cold, small pox or measles.
It is estimated that half of the U. The life expectancy in the U. Influenza epidemics can exhibit different infection patterns from the seasonal flu which kills the elderly, the chronically ill, and very young children.
The Spanish Flu was most deadly for people ages 20 to It struck down the strong and vigorous. Entire families were wiped out; in other families, just one or two people survived.
Children lost their parents, parents lost their children, husbands their wives, etc. The emotional toll on the survivors was devastating.
The deaths were painful. One physician described his patients as dying while "struggling to clear their airways of a blood-tinged froth that sometimes gushed from their nose and mouth. In India the mortality rate was 50 deaths per 1, people.
Doctors of the time were powerless against the disease. The influenza virus was not even identified until Public health officials of the affected areas were unable to stop the spread of the disease.
They tried everything they could think of from distributing gauze masks to prohibiting stores from holding sales, limiting funerals to 15 minutes, banning meetings, restricting entry into the town, to name a few. There was also a lack of health care workers due to illness or death.
There was also a shortage of coffins and bodies piled up in morgues and funeral homes. Bacteria from the nose and throat were able to infect the lungs because the virus damaged the bronchial tubes and the lining of the lungs. With the development of antibiotics that can treat pneumonia, later pandemics have caused many fewer fatalities Lasting a little over a year and killing between 20 million and 50 million people, the Spanish Flu was one of the worst pandemics in history.
All of these numbers are approximate. The strain of influenza responsible for the pandemic didn't originate in Spain nor was it any worse there than in other places. Scientists have recently been able to reconstruct the Spanish Flu virus from samples preserved in wax and tissues from people who were frozen in the Alaskan permafrost and recently unearthed.
It appears to have bird genes which means that it jumped from birds to humans.Page 1 UNITED STATES STRATEGIC BOMBING SURVEY SUMMARY REPORT.
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