Cambridge, MIT, November 2014


walk-in flu clinic, mit (sonya kovacic)

walk-in flu clinic, mit (sonya kovacic)

The Spanish Influenza of 1918 - also known as the Great Pandemic- infected between 20-40% of the global population. Boston was the first city in the United States to be hit when in August of 1918, sailors in Boston became sick with influenza. From there, the virus spread quickly into the city and then to the rest of the state. From September 1918 - January 1919, approximately 45,000 people died from influenza in Massachusetts alone.

The particular strain of Spanish Influenza targeted healthy young adults and because of World War I, there were shortages of medical personal to treat the virus. For those reasons and because there were no vaccines nor antiviral drugs, the virus spread quickly. The first influenza vaccine wasn't licensed in the United States until the 1940s, when it was used to protect World War II soldiers.

Some perspective:

37 million people (both military and civilian) died in World War I. The total number of casualties from the Spanish Influenza was thought to be anywhere between 30 and 50 million. 
Approximately 320,710 Americans died from World War 1. Around 675,000Americans died from the Spanish Influenza.

The Boston Children's Hospital helped create "Flu Near You," a community driven flu tracking website offering real time information to the public. Check to see if your neighborhood is impacted by influenza and keep safe!