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The "Spanish Flu" pandemic of 1918-1919 was the most deadly outbreak of influenza to occur in recent history. Worldwide, over 21 million people died of this influenza, many of them young and otherwise fit. It hit quickly and it hit hard -- it is said that a person could be feeling fine in the morning, feel a little poorly in the afternoon, and be dead by nightfall of the same day. It is thought to have originated somewhere in China. The first wave hit North America in the spring of 1918, brought in by soldiers returning home from the war. In the fall and winter of that year, it returned in a more devastating second wave that traversed the globe. The third wave, much less virulent than the second wave, hit in the spring of 1919.
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Last update: Thursday, September 25, 2014 6:15:09 AM EDT - edit