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The Influenza Epidemic of 1918 and Its Effect on Modern Medicine

Influenza killed more people than those killed as a direct result of World War I, but the influenza epidemic of 1918 (referred to in the 1918 and 1919 as the “Spanish Flu”) is largely overlooked in many history courses. Spread in part by thousands of soldiers who traveled abroad while fighting in the war, the disease infected people indiscriminately, spread rapidly, and had a shockingly high mortality rate. It is estimated that between 20 million to 50 million people died worldwide as a result of contracting this strain of influenza.