1918 Flu Pandemic & Medicine on the War Front Jessica Fanelli February 8, 2011 Mr. Hunt
Medicine on the War Front in World War One
There were many diseases and illnesses that formed throughout WW1.
One new illness discovered during this time was Da Costa’s Syndrome, which was also called Soldier’s Heart. J.M. Costa described the condition as “strain or overreaction of the heart". Today, Da Costa's Syndrome is considered an anxiety disorder. Treatment for the issue is primarily behavioral, including modifications to one’s lifestyle and everyday routine.
Typhoid Fever was also a harmful disease during WW1. This fever was spread by ingestion of food or water contaminated by faecal matter. This disease was mainly seen in trench life and was mainly associated with poor hygiene and poor sanitation.
Influenza was also a wide-spread virus that took over the world during the same time period as WW1.
1918 Flu Pandemic
The 1918 flu pandemic was an unusually severe and deadly influenza pandemic that spread across throughout the world. Most victims of the flu were healthy young adults, in contrast to most influenza outbreaks which would affect the young, elderly, or weak.
The pandemic lasted from June 1917 to December 1920. The flu spread throughout the world.
Between 50 and 100 million died.
An estimated 50 million people died of the disease. Some 500 million were infected by this flu.
Some theorized that the flu originated in the Far East, or more specifically China.
Dr. C. Hannoun, leading expert of the 1918 flu, discovered that the virus was likely to have started in China, developed in the United States somewhere near Boston, spread through France and then continued to invade most of Europe.
Some believed that the epidemic was a new warfare tool of the Germans to destroy their enemies strength.
Many thought it was a result of the trench warfare and the use of gases during the war.
A study was started to reason why the flu had been so destructive in certain regions. Researchers looked at climate, weather and racial composition of cities. They found humidity to be linked with more severe outbreaks because such conditions "foster the dissemination of the bacteria.”
After the 1918 Influenza Pandemic, the average life span in the United States decreased by approximately 10 years. The influenza virus had a profound virulence, with a mortality rate at 2.5% compared to the previous influenza epidemics, which had a mortality rate of less than 0.1%. The death rate for 15-34 year olds that caught this specific flu was 20 times higher in 1918 than in previous years. People that were struck with the illness often died rapid deaths.
"1918 Flu Pandemic." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Accessed February 08, 2011. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1918_flu_pandemic.
"The 1918 Influenza Pandemic." Virus. Accessed February 08, 2011. http://virus.stanford.edu/uda/.
"Medical History of WWI | Medical, Surgical and Pathological | The Great War | The Medical Front WWI | First World War History." WWW Virtual Library @ Www.vlib.us | WWW-VL | United States History; World History; WWI; American History Documents; US Art Museums; US History Museums; USA Historic Sites; Native American Bibliography; Web Site Tools; Electronic Texts. Accessed February 08, 2011. http://www.vlib.us/medical/medindex.html#Flu.
"WWI Typhoid Fever | Diagnosis and Treatment In the Great War | Medical Front WWI." WWW Virtual Library @ Www.vlib.us | WWW-VL | United States History; World History; WWI; American History Documents; US Art Museums; US History Museums; USA Historic Sites; Native American Bibliography; Web Site Tools; Electronic Texts. Accessed February 08, 2011. http://www.vlib.us/medical/osler.htm.