The 1918 Pandemic: The Deadliest Flu in History


By now, you’re probably used to ‘flu season’
coming around every year. These days, you can often avoid getting sick
through vaccines, washing your hands, and avoiding sneezing co-workers. So while influenza can be dangerous, for most
people it’s just another part of winter. But a hundred years ago, at the start of 1918,
the normal flu season took a backseat to what became the deadliest outbreak in history:
a global influenza pandemic that killed anywhere between 50 and 100 million people. Today, it’s called “the mother of all
pandemics”, and scientists think they’ve figured out what made it so deadly. [♪INTRO] Epidemiologists still aren’t sure where
this killer flu originated. Some say it started in China, while others
point to early cases from a military training base in Kansas. But eventually, thanks to the war and global
trade routes, it spread around the world and became known as — of all things — the
Spanish flu. See, in 1918, a lot of the world was busy
finishing World War I, and many countries were heavily censoring their news. Anything that might hurt morale — like a
deadly, fast-moving plague, for example — was kept from the media. But Spain, which wasn’t involved in the
war, had no problem reporting the outbreak. So, people started calling it the Spanish
Flu, since it seemed to have emerged there first — if only according to the news. Regardless of where it started, this flu was
so devastating that some people believed it was biological warfare. Some estimates say that one-third of the world
population was infected, and that more than 2.5% of people died from it, often through
complications like pneumonia — including millions of 20- to 40-year-olds, who are usually
the least vulnerable. A normal flu, meanwhile, is fatal in less
than 0.1% of cases. To know why it was so dangerous, it helps
to know a bit about the flu virus itself. There are four subtypes of the influenza virus,
called influenzae A-D, with influenza A being the main kind that causes pandemics. Those viruses are categorized by two surface
proteins: hemagglutinin, which comes in 18 varieties, and neuraminidase, which comes
in 11. They give flu strains names like 1918’s
“H1N1”, although there can still be variations among viruses with the same name. Your immune system builds antibodies that
recognize all these proteins and protect you from multiple infections — but unfortunately,
the influenza virus mutates so quickly that your body doesn’t always recognize it. Most mutations are small — enough that your
body will probably still be able to defend itself. These tiny changes are called antigenic drifts. But the 1918 flu virus underwent a much bigger
change — called an antigenic shift — that left people vulnerable. These big mutations result in viruses with
very different or entirely new combinations of surface proteins, and they’re different
enough that most people have little or no natural immunity. Changes like these are what cause flu pandemics. Now, even though the virus changes all the
time, scientists think that the first flu you encounter may have a life-long effect
on the way your body fights new infections. They call this idea the antigenic imprinting
— or the “doctrine of original antigenic sin”. Really. It says that your immune system seems to remember
your first influenza infection and will try to fight later flus using the same antibodies. So if you caught an H3-type flu as a child,
you’re better able to protect yourself against other H3 flu viruses, even if some of its
other proteins have changed. But you probably wouldn’t do as well against,
say, an H1-type virus. Which is exactly what happened 100 years ago. And it’s one reason why 20- to 40-year-olds
were so likely to die during this outbreak, even though they’re usually the least affected. When they were younger, the so-called “Russian
Flu” was the dominant strain — and that was probably the H3N8 variant. Then, around 1900, the H1-type virus became
dominant. And sometime right before 1918, another shift
created the H1N1 strain that caused the pandemic and left young adults with almost no immunity. Meanwhile, people older than 40 may have experienced
an H1-type virus in their childhood, so they already had some protection against this new
version. On top of that, young adults also have especially
strong immune systems, which actually worked against them and caused a lot of people to
die quickly after showing symptoms. These rapid deaths were likely caused by cytokine
storms, which is an immune system response so intense it damages a patient’s tissues. And the stronger your immune system, the more
damage a cytokine storm can do. So, 1918 was not a great time to be a young
person. After racing across the world, the deadly
pandemic seemed to burn itself out after a year or so. Researchers think that, since so many people
were infected in the first outbreak, enough of the population gained immunity to prevent
further chaos. The virus also probably mutated to a less
deadly form — though, in general, scientists aren’t certain what magical combination of
mutations makes a flu more or less deadly. Either way, we don’t need to worry specifically
about the Spanish flu these days. Many of today’s H1 viruses are actually
descended from that 1918 virus — which is partially why it’s called “the mother
of all pandemics” — so most people have some H1 immunity. But if there’s ever another big antigenic
shift, that could be a problem — because it could definitely happen and might even
cause another pandemic. To protect us from that possibility — and
the rest of the flus — scientists are working on a universal vaccine. There are several in development right now
that target parts of the virus that are the same across all variants. And if any of them work, it could someday
mean that one vaccine would protect you from every flu season. So even though it’s possible, hopefully
we’ll never experience another pandemic like the Spanish flu again. Thanks for watching this episode of SciShow,
and a special thanks to our patrons on Patreon who help us make episodes like this. If you’d like to support the show, you can
go to patreon.com/scishow.

100 thoughts on “The 1918 Pandemic: The Deadliest Flu in History

  1. I had that bad H1 flu 3 years ago. So am I protected at all from the one this year in 2017-18? I'm disabled and I don't have a caregiver right now so I only see a person every 8 weeks or so and they can't get out.

  2. A lot of people dont know about Elderberry syrup dont have vitamin C and dont understand probiotics including yogurt probiotics.If everybody knew about this then and had access to all that maybe it wouldnt have been as bad.675000 just in US died that year from flue its reported.

  3. it probably started the same way the H1N1 started and its probably why it went away on its own and why the flu shot is proven not to work but cause health probably usually respiratory ones later on in life

    thx for this ha bisky vid the only people who have seem to never gotten the flu are the ones who never got the so called flu shot

  4. If they do come up with a pan-immunity flu vaccine, anyone who dies from a case of conspiracy theory-itis will have only themselves to blame. It'll be nature's way of solving one of the biggest sociological problems of our time.

  5. https://youtu.be/y5Fy9cjZrOE The main guy at Infectious Disease control said there was a "Mis-Hap" when making the Flu shot.. Why do all news places have their head in the sand?

  6. Some of the symptoms of cytokine storms were horrific, including turning blue, bleeding from every orifice and air pockets forming under the skin, making victims crackle like Rice Krispies.

  7. I don’t get flu shots anymore bc whenever I get them I get it. I got H1N1 and was I. The hospital for a whole so now I won’t get a flu shot and I’m fine. (That’s my body I do t suggest u do it)

  8. I first learned of the 'Spanish flu' when I was a child and noticed the many headstones in the local cemetery that showed 1918 as the year people had died.

  9. I'm 18 right now and I cought the flu once when I was around 4 I don't really remember but I've never cought any kind of illness sinse then even when I was around others with the virus 0_o guess I'm lucky

  10. The Spanish flu killed by having your lungs fill with fluid, so you would literally drown in your own fluid and then you would be bleeding from all orifices and your lips would going blue. It would kill you in roughly 10 hours or less. You would be fine in the morning and dead before dinner!

  11. ok i learned something: You take medicine to stop a infection but why? With scarlet fever your body knows how it fights if you take the medicine so if like scarlet were to kick punch pull out hair your body would know and dodge. But with Influenza it was like punch pull out hair but your body thought it was punch then kick.

  12. Too many people moving around in too short a period of time. Thus making it easier to spread quickly.

  13. Its not the deadlist. Only about 3-5% of the human population died. The "Black Death" killed up to 30-40% of the human population.

  14. My Great Grand Aunt died in February 1918 at the age of 6. Is it possible she was a victim of the Spanish Flu?

  15. Healthcare is the sorcery of Babylon.Many drs and nurses,are witches.Read the book of Enoch.Audio version on youtube.See Trey Smith`s video on the Nephilim.Read the book of Acts,KJV.Witches are taking out people`s souls and demons control the masses of bodies walking around posing as human beings.See the video The Fragmented soul by Win Worley.See the video Routing demons by John Echardt.See the video The Testament of Solomon,See the video The Gensesis 6 Conspiracy.See all videos by Win Worley,Derek prince,and John Echardt.Science,is largely sorcery and magic with demons doing the work.The real word of God(the king James bible) has been replaced with fake new world order bibles in most churches.The real word of God has SUPERNATURAL POWER to bring down the kingdom of darkness.ONly for real beleivers in Jesus.Speak it out loud.

  16. It still bothers me that the 1918 flu pandemic gets so little attention, and seems to be so little known among the general public. If ever there was fertile ground for a crackpot government conspiracy theory, this is it!

  17. I had the Hong Kong flu in the 70's and the Russian flu in the late 70's. I was very sick with both of them. The Russian flu was a lot worse than the Hong Kong flu. I was sick for over three weeks, lost a lot of weight. Lot of these flu pandemic's are mutating.. They have found one case last week in the USA. I hope they have quaranteened this person for all of our sakes!

  18. I beleive what killed them was their body recognized the virus but produced a ineffective immune response, because its response was to a similar strain but was ineffective against the current strain. This ineffective response was continully increased until it had a deleterious effect to include the cytokine storm mentioned generally, causing high fever and death. You are welcome.

  19. The Spanish flu was deliberately spread by the USA and England:
    Geheimakte Gestapo-Müller by Gregory Douglas Band II pages 143 – 145.

  20. It's weird right now i have a 103 fever. It usually runs its course. I never go to the doctor. I guess this was a crazy strain

  21. Extremely interesting and informative. I had no idea that the first flu infection a person receives molds their immune response to all future influenzas.

  22. Ever thought about the imagination of a fictional disease character? Fiction is something that might be based on true events, or facts that hasn't yet happened but has a possibility that it could. Nonfiction is something inspired by true events, and occurrences.

    A. Fictional Disease Character: Super KillerB Influenza Plague.

    B. Nonfictional Character: The Spanish Flu killed over one million people in 1918. The Spanish Flu is Killer Influenza Strain, and the same virus could kill out 300 million people. So Killer Influenza seems to be a match for my fictional disease character called Super KillerB Influenza Plague! Even though the universal vaccine is available, there is a chance that there is still people who will refuse to get the vaccine. If it is true, Killer Influenza Strain will still happen.

  23. If you get the fllu shot and never "catch" a flu will your body still have the "memory" of the first flu and fight it with the antibodies from the first flu shot you recieved?

  24. THE SPANISH INFLUENZA EPIDEMIC OF 1918 WAS CAUSED BY VACCINATIONS

    As has been stated before, all medical and non-medical authorities on vaccination agree that vaccines are designed to cause a mild case of the diseases they are supposed to prevent. But they also know and admit that there is no way whatsoever to predict whether the case will be mild or severe – even deadly. With this much uncertainty in dealing with the very lives of people, it is very unscientific and extremely dangerous to use such a questionable procedure as vaccination.

    Many vaccines also cause other diseases besides the one for which they are given. For instance, smallpox vaccine often causes syphilis, paralysis, leprosy, and cancer. (See the chapters on smallpox and plagues.) Polio shots, diphtheria toxin-antitoxin, typhoid vaccine, as well as measles, tetanus and all other shots often cause various other stages of disease such as post-vaccinal encephalitis (inflammation of the brain,) paralysis, spinal meningitis, blindness, cancer (sometimes within two years,) tuberculosis, (two to twenty years after the shot,) arthritis, kidney disease, heart disease (heart failure sometimes within minutes after the shot and sometimes several hours later.) Nerve damage and many other serious conditions also follow the injections.

    When several shots are given (different vaccines) within a few days or a few weeks apart, they often trigger intensified cases of all the diseases at once, because the body cannot handle such a large amount of deadly poison being injected directly into the bloodstream. The doctors call it a new disease and proceed to suppress the symptoms.

    When poison is taken by the mouth, the internal defense system has a chance to quickly eject some of it by vomiting, but when the poisons are shot directly into the body, bypassing all the natural safeguards, these dangerous poisons circulate immediately throughout the entire body in a matter of seconds and keep on circulating until all the cells are poisoned.

    I heard that seven men dropped dead in a doctor’s office after being vaccinated. This was in an army camp, so I wrote to the Government for verification. They sent me the report of U.S. Secretary of War, Henry L. Stimson. The report not only verified the report of the seven who dropped dead from the vaccines, but it stated that there had been 63 deaths and 28,585 cases of hepatitis as a direct result of the yellow fever vaccine during only 6 months of the war. That was only one of the 14 to 25 shots given the soldiers. We can imagine the damage that all these shots did to the men. (See the chapter on What Vaccinations Did to Our Soldiers.)

    The first World War was of a short duration, so the vaccine makers were unable to use up all their vaccines. As they were (and still are) in business for profit, they decided to sell it to the rest of the population. So they drummed up the largest vaccination campaign in U.S. history. There were no epidemics to justify it so they used other tricks. Their propaganda claimed the soldiers were coming home from foreign countries with all kinds of diseases and that everyone must have all the shots on the market.

    The people believed them because, first of all, they wanted to believe their doctors, and second, the returning soldiers certainly had been sick. They didn’t know it was from doctor-made vaccine diseases, as the army doctors don’t tell them things like that. Many of the returned soldiers were disabled for life by these drug-induced diseases. Many were insane from postvaccinal encephalitis, but the doctors called it shell shock, even though many had never left American soil.

    The conglomerate disease brought on by the many poison vaccines baffled the doctors, as they never had a vaccination spree before which used so many different vaccines. The new disease they had created had symptoms of all the diseases they had injected into the man. There was the high fever, extreme weakness, abdominal rash and intestinal disturbance characteristic of typhoid. The diphtheria vaccine caused lung congestion, chills and fever, swollen, sore throat clogged with the false membrane, and the choking suffocation because of difficulty in breathing followed by gasping and death, after which the body turned black from stagnant blood that had been deprived of oxygen in the suffocation stages. In early days they called it Black Death. The other vaccines cause their own reactions — paralysis, brain damage, lockjaw, etc.

    When doctors had tried to suppress the symptoms of the typhoid with a stronger vaccine, it caused a worse form of typhoid which they named paratyphoid. But when they concocted a stronger and more dangerous vaccine to suppress that one, they created an even worse disease which they didn’t have a name for. What should they call it? They didn’t want to tell the people what it really was — their own Frankenstein monster which they had created with their vaccines and suppressive medicines. They wanted to direct the blame away from themselves, so they called it Spanish Influenza. It was certainly not of Spanish origin, and the Spanish people resented the implication that the world-wide scourge of that day should be blamed on them. But the name stuck and American medical doctors and vaccine makers were not suspected of the crime of this widespread devastation — the 1918 Flu Epidemic. It is only in recent years that researchers have been digging up the facts and laying the blame where it belongs.

    Some of the soldiers may have been in Spain before coming home, but their diseases originated in their own home-based U.S. Army Camps. Our medical men still use that same dodge. When their own vaccines (required for travel) cause vaccine diseases abroad they use this as grounds for a scare campaign to stampede people into the vaccination centers. Do you remember the Hong Kong Flu and the Asian Flu and the London Flu scares? These were all medically-made epidemics mixed with the usual common colds which people have every year.

    Now (1976) we are being worked on again by the vaccine -epidemic makers in their effort to force another multi million dollar vaccine sale caper. Their con men have already talked President Ford into handing over $135 million dollars to start their vaccine racket. Even the insurance companies refused to become involved with such an obviously dangerous and crooked scheme. So, again the medical and drug con men induced the appropriate government officials to guarantee insurance against the, possible billions of dollars in law suits which could be brought against the vaccine promoters if the vaccine campaign is carried out as planned. It’s a good thing Ford was voted out of office. It’s too bad he wasn’t "dumped" before he paid the poison squad the MONEY’ to poison the whole population. However, we don’t yet know if President Carter will be any better. Will he be held in the grip of the medical and drug dictatorship? Or will he investigate — learn the truth — reverse the decisions and make the vaccine makers return the money taken from the taxpayers under false pretenses?

    The statement of the swine flu vaccine promoters to the effect that the vaccine is harmless, is false, and the statement that it will protect against flu is false. Fifty-six people died after the shots, some within 48 hours. There is confusion and disagreement among the doctors about all aspects of the vaccine, from the safety and effectiveness to the necessity for it, who should have it and who should be warned against it.

    Their scare-head campaign cry is that the swine flu is like the 1918 flu which killed 20,000,000 people. They don’t have any usable and provable blood samples from the 1918 flu epidemic to prove it. That was 58 years ago, and the doctors were just as confused and inefficient then as now. However, one thing is certain — the 1918 Spanish Influenza was a vaccine-induced disease caused by extreme body poisoning from the conglomeration of many different vaccines. The soldiers at Fort Dix who were said to have had Swine Flu had been injected with a large variety of vaccines like the vaccines which caused the 1918 flu epidemic. The flu epidemic at Fort Dix was in no way related to swine. There were no swine at camp (unless we want to sarcastically call the vaccine promoters who caused the diseases -"swine.")

    To add to the confusion, the doctors tell the people that there are a lot of various kinds of flu; the one which the soldiers at Fort Dix had was AVictoria flu, there are other strains of flu virus, and also, that the swine flu vaccine which so many people have taken already will not protect them against the many other types of flu. This will be used as an "out" in case of law suits later on when more casualties begin to show up. The doctors will say that the vaccine failed because it was the wrong kind of flu for the vaccine. Of course, no one can prove it one way or the other because viruses are illusive, invisible organisms which are unstable and unpredictable. One dictionary definition of virus is "a morbid poison." The vaccines injected into the body are poison and cause the typical poison reactions. Virus (poison) does not fly around and attack people.

    Therefore, there will be no swine flu epidemic unless the vaccine promoters make one like they did in the 1918 flu epidemic. It will not kill 20,000,000 people unless the people submit to the disease-producing shots. There are also, other causes of disease besides vaccines, such as bad food, which has been devitalized and contaminated with poison preservatives and artificial drug concoctions. There are many more causes of disease but no diseases are contagious(See the chapter on the germ theory).

  25. My paternal grandfather died due to complications of this pandemic. He barely survived the 1918 pandemic, only to have his weakened immune system finally give out on him in 1920. My father was born in one room of the family home in 1918, while one of his sisters was dying from the flu in the bedroom across the hallway. My father was only 2 years old at the time his father died. So, he had no dad, and I had no grandfather.

  26. Spanish flu was created as a weapon in 1914, its well documented, it was scrapped, but escaped and mutated just a little and the rest is hidden history,

  27. I can see the future. What will happen is that scientists will make a great vaccine that works very well and everyone must take it, but some French mother is like NUH A and they caused a new disease called the French Flu and it is the father of all flu’s.

  28. I had Flu Type A this week, it was HORRIBLE, I had bronchitis too along with it, my throat hurt super bad, i had a fever, I only wanted to sleep all day and I lost my appetite! I almost got pneumonia but I took tamaflu and I recovered.

  29. If anti vaxxers had their way, we would have had another spanish flu instead of the 2009 or 2018 flu outbreaks. Probably half a million or more deaths, due to increased world travel, population, and urbanization.

    Yet we did not. Can’t point my finger on why 🤔.

  30. Do our bodies store the "recipes" for all the different types of antibodies used for all the different types of diseases we face? Like, do have general antibodies and then if a flu virus gets in our body that we recognize, do the general antibodies "read the recipe" and become the right antibody for the virus? If so, where is all this information stored? Does our brain have a library of antibody recipes? Or do our cells have some way of information encoding?

  31. For a start H1N1 originated from pigs in Mexico and avian bird flu comes from bactiria picked up by aquotic birds they carried it to Asia and because influenza is so smart at merging itself with other cells and flu virusus it hybrid itself from avian flu into H1N1 influenza is that smart it can hybrid itself into any flu virus it touches and chooses if it comes across Ebola and chooses to it will mutate with that and make a global crisis again influenza is one amongst the smartest flus to ever co exsist with humesn rodants and insects and animals

  32. The topic is interesting, but I am bothered by her body gesture. The way she constantly moves her hands and moving her body and head to the side with matching valley-girlish intonation.

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