Three Phases of Epidemic

There were three phases of the influenza pandemic or Spanish flu.

  1. Started in the Spring and resembled typical flu epidemics and mainly effected the sick and elderly
  2. Began in August throughout France, Sierra Leone and the United States. Virus mutated to a much deadlier form
  3. October 1918 the whole pandemic had spread throughout the world. This was the deadliest month.

The spread is attributed to the first World War. 

Civilians stayed home and quarantined themselves to take preventative measures.

However, things were different in the trenches.  Those with a mild case would stay where they were, usually in a makeshift hospital.

In the beginning, many soldiers and military doctors dismissed it as the three-day fever. After all, the incubation period was two to three days.

However, the severely ill were sent to crowded field hospitals on crowded trains, which lead to the virus spreading further and faster.

Those who became sick in the first round, became immune to the later breakouts, proving it was the same strain.

Doctors were unsure how to treat those with the flu.  After all, they did not have the flu vaccine. {That would not arrive until the 1940s.}  Due to the war, many areas suffered from a shortage of physicians and other healthcare workers.

So, how did the outbreak effect American towns?

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