By the time it was through rampaging around the globe, this assailant the Spanish flu had killed between 50 million and 100 million people, several times more than had lost their lives in the soon to be concluded War to End All Wars.
His entire family was sick. Stevens, then 12, caught the flu first and recovered, only to find school closed and chums either bedridden or forbidden by frightened parents from playing with others who might infect them.
Today such a catastrophe would be non stop news. Consider the SARS outbreak of 2003: the disease infected just over 8,000 people and killed fewer than 800, but rivalled the start of the war in Iraq for top of the newscast status.
The thinking is that because Spain was a non combatant, its newspapers were more openly reporting on the alarming new twist on an old illness.
Not so in 1918. Accounts of the war in Europe crowded news about the flu bug out of the front pages of newspapers. "Usually it was on Page 12," Crosby notes.
In fact, there are still some among us who can recall those dreadful months in the fall of 1918 and the spring of 1919. Rev.
little or no immunity will emerge from nature, causing a global outbreak of disease known as a pandemic.
"The press was heavily self censored because the war was still on. And when you look at the news stories, the rhetoric of the stories is that this is just another battle that we have to fight. Except it's against disease, not against the Germans."
The virus went quiet in the northern hemisphere's summer, but reports started to crop up of renewed sickness in Europe in late August. In September, the illness erupted at Camp Devens, a military base near Boston.
"But we're never going to understand: How the hell did we have something that killed millions and millions of people and then we said 'Oh, well' and went on to the World Series or something?"
they are first found.)
It has been suggested the curious under reporting of the event in countries that were combatants in the First World War contributed to the evolution of the outbreak's moniker, which implies the virus arose in Spain. (Influenza viruses are named after the place where Nike Sleeveless Workout Shirts
In Canada, the first report of an outbreak among civilians occurred at Victoriaville College in Quebec on Sept. 8. School officials elected to send home students who were well enough to travel, undoubtedly sending flu along with some of them.
As those armies battled over the blood soaked fields of Europe 90 years ago, another enemy was on the move. This adversary didn't choose sides. It didn't restrict itself to Europe. It didn't spare civilians.
Yet despite the scope of the death and illness, the fear and social disruption, amazingly inexplicably the history books made little mention of what is now viewed as the deadliest outbreak Nike T Shirt Yellow of infectious disease in recorded history.
Heather MacDougall, a historian at the University of Waterloo, has studied Canadian newspaper coverage of the time.
Crosby's 1976 account of the event "America's Forgotten Pandemic: The Influenza of 1918" sank the first spade in what has turned into a historical and scientific excavation of the Spanish flu.
There appears to be no cycle or pattern involved. Nine years separated two pandemics in the mid 1800s, but it's now been 40 years since the most recent pandemic, the 1968 69 Hong Kong flu. heartland, probably Kansas. Unusually virulent outbreaks of influenza were reported in some military camps there. Later, Barry and others believe, troop ships took the virus to the battlefields of Europe, where massive numbers of soldiers on both sides fell ill.
Recounting the details now, the story seems like bad science fiction 50 million to 100 million dead globally, 30,000 to 50,000 dead in Canada. If a similarly virulent outbreak occurred now, between 186 million and 372 million people around the world would die, and between 112,000 and 186,000 Canadians would succumb.
"For me, that's the most mysterious thing about it," Crosby says. "The vagaries of the virus, we'll understand them eventually. And we'll understand how flu epidemics work."
"You were kept in. Kept Nike Joggers Tech Fleece
It was during this second wave of the pandemic that the new influenza virus turned preternaturally deadly.
"And given that we are now finally winning the war against the Germans, we will win this war against disease."
TORONTO The Allied Forces were gaining hard earned ground in the late summer of 1918, carving a path that would shortly lead to an armistice for the First World War.
It's thought that roughly 2.5 per cent of people who caught the flu died from it an extraordinarily high rate for influenza. But the toll was substantially worse among certain groups pregnant women, aboriginals and young, previously healthy adults.
Most of us would have had a relative an aunt, a grandfather, a great grandmother who was sick with the Spanish flu. If we'd asked or if they'd offered, they could have told stories of a taxing time, when gymnasiums morphed into crowded makeshift hospitals, when undertakers ran out of coffins, when the Stanley Cup playoffs were shelved the only time that happened until the NHL lockout of 2004 05.
"If I hadn't researched and written a book myself, I'd want to go look it up in the Encyclopedia Britannica to find out whether it really happened or not," historian Alfred Crosby said in a recent interview from his home on Nantucket Island.
Influenza viruses circulate all the time, sending victims to their beds with bone aching fatigue. They can even kill. In Canada, between 4,000 and 8,000 people a year often the elderly die from influenza or the pneumonia that can follow. But occasionally a new influenza virus for which humans have Nike Black Sweatpants Mens
in at home, kept out at school," Stevens recalls. "Your school and your home were your two places of security. And both were collapsing."
"It's impossible. And yet it's true."
90 years after Spanish flu outbreak
Now nearly 102 and a retired United Church minister, Stevens remembers vividly that it felt like the world was spinning out of control when the Spanish flu coursed through his Vancouver neighbourhood.
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