The Spanish Flu: The greatest pandemic in modern history.

Considered the worst global pandemic in history since it concentrated high mortality in a short period of time. 

The mortality rate of the pandemic is estimated to have been between 10% and 20% and that it killed between 50 and 100 million people worldwide.

<<Vídeo about spanish flu, Spanish National Library>>

The flu began to spread at the end of the first world war.

The media of the countries that participated in the war were under military censorship, which is why they hid the pandemic, however, Spain reported the new cases in the press, using names such as <<La febre de tres días, El soldado de Nápoles >> or the fashionable disease, it seemed that Spain was the only country affected, which is why the disease became known throughout the world as the Spanish Flu.

Although in the fall of 1917 the disease had already occurred in 14 military camps, some consider the cook Gilbert Mitchell, from the Fort Riley camp in Kansas as patient 0. Mitchell was hospitalized to the infirmary on the morning of March 4, 1918 with fever and headache, and a few hours  later there were already more than 100 cases under treatment, so they had to sep up  a hangar to care for the patients.

The typical symptoms of this disease were high fever, earaches, body fatigue, diarrhea and vomiting and sometimes breathing difficulties and nosebleeds.

Most of the people who died were form secondary bacterial pneumonia as antibiotics were not available, however a group died rapidly after the first symptoms appeared in as little as two to three days.

In mid-April 1918, the flu was already raging in the trenches of Western Europe, it passed from France to Great Britain, Italy and reached Spain, even making King  Alfonso XIII sick and the Spanish newspapers covered the disease that was spreading so alarmingly.

As can be seen in the graph, most of the fatalities fell only in thirteen weeks, from September to mid-December 1918, in what is known as the second wave, and the poorest people and populations suffered sifnificantly, especially the consequences of this flu, but it also affected rulers such as the president of the United States, Woodrow  Wilson, the British prime minister,  Lloyd George or Kaiser GuillermoII, the painter Eduard Munch even captured it in a self-portrait and others like  Gustav Klimt, they did not survive the disease.

All the newspapers of the time included advertisements with miraculous remedies, including elixirs, medicainal waters, tonics and other remedies.

Doctors of the time recommended aspirin in doses that would now be considered counterproductive, quinina, arsenic preparations, camphor oil or castor oil, some even encouraged people to smoke thinking that inhaling smoke killed germs.

Different medical publications of the time available in the Hispanic digital library tried to respond to the causes of the epidemic and reported the progress and  consequences.  An Italian scientist, Professor Saconi, declared that he had isolated the germ that caused the disease, but time showed that this was not true. The strain of the virus that causes the Spanish flu,  A/H1N1 was not discovered until 1943 and iis genetic sequence was not determined until 2005.

Every day the Spanish newspapers collected the importance of hygiene education and as in Germany, this task was carried out form shcools and pulpits …