The Black Death And The 1918 Influenza Pandemics

1980 Words 8 Pages
Pandemics are events in which a disease spreads across the entire world. Many pandemics have become notorious for their lethality, symptoms, or historical events that surrounded them. Various notorious and formidable pandemics include the ‘Black Death’ and the human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) pandemic. The ‘Black Death’ was a pandemic caused by the plague that killed an estimated 25 million people (“Black Death”). The HIV/AIDS pandemic killed an estimated 35 million people (“HIV/AIDS”). The ‘Black Death’ and the HIV/AIDS pandemic have killed many people; however, neither has killed nearly as many people as the 1918 influenza pandemic. The 1918 influenza pandemic, better known as the ‘Spanish Flu,’ …show more content…
These symptoms show up in about 4-out-of-5 of the infected. The unusual first symptom was usually heightened fevers, from about 38.5-40.5°C (Bristow 44-45). High fevers were usually followed by an aggressive case of pneumonia that killed many people (Bristow 45-46). One survivor said that the cough “tore my very innards out” and describes his condition as “so forlorn and uncomfortable in my life” (Bristow 45-46). The intense fever can weaken the immune system, and makes accompanying pneumonia much more deadly. This combination of symptoms led to vast amounts of death throughout the world; however, it was only a fraction of what the 1918 pandemic influenza did to the human body. The 1918 pandemic influenza could also cause pulmonary edema through hemorrhaging, which means the lungs of an infected person would fill with a fluid, usually their own blood, consequently leading to asphyxiation (Bristow 45). Pulmonary edema would lead to the quick death of many people infected with the 1918 pandemic influenza. The unusual symptoms of the 1918 pandemic influenza gave it an unusually high …show more content…
An estimated one-third of the population of Earth, 500 million people, was infected by the 1918 pandemic influenza (Taubenberger, “1918 Influenza: the Mother” 1). Infecting this number of people is no simple feat; it requires a large amount of transmission. The transportation of troops due to WWI, the flu’s methods of transmission, and the population’s unknowingness of transmission all led to the ease of transmission of the 1918 pandemic influenza.
Not only did WWI decrease the amount of treatment of the 1918 pandemic influenza, but WWI also increased its transmission through the transportation of troops. 65 million troops were mobilized during the span of WWI (“World War I”). Troops were shipped overseas in crowded and unsanitary conditions, conditions that are perfect for the spread of viruses (Silverstein et al. 15-16). These conditions let the disease spread swiftly through militaries, and the shipping of troops spread influenza to new nations from the movement of troops. The vast movement of troops created an opportunity for very easy

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