Section 4 devil invasion – Introduction to

of Spanish pandemic influenza in 1918




sneezing, headache, dry cough… These symptoms remind people that the annoying cold is coming again, but before dialysis, people often think they have only ordinary minor diseases that can no longer be ordinary, and take some medicine, Some people even rely on their strong physique to support for a few days and will recover their health. However, the cold in 1918 made people dare not underestimate it. At that time, during the first World War, countries seemed to have achieved “no borders” for the first time. They were running around each other’s territory, busy competing and resisting. The whole world was in chaos. The war that lasted for several years had killed nearly 10 million people. At this time, a more serious disaster came. In its own silent way, it gave the most serious punishment to the human beings who had fallen into madness at that time.

history of disaster


on March 11, 1918, lunch was about to begin at Finson military camp, Kansas, USA. At this time, a cook had typical cold symptoms such as fever, sore throat and headache, so he went to the army hospital for treatment. The doctor thought he was just suffering from a common cold, so he casually prescribed some cold medicine for him, but the next situation made the doctor silly. After lunch, more than 100 soldiers in the army had similar symptoms. In the next few days, the situation intensified, causing more than 500 people in the barracks to fall ill. The soldiers were in panic, but the doctor couldn’t tell what was going on.

not long after, nearly a thousand soldiers in this military camp fell ill collectively, of which 48 died. Autopsy revealed that the lungs of the deceased were severely enlarged and filled with light blue mucus. All of them died of acute pneumonia. A few days later, in a small town in Massachusetts, three ordinary people also had the same symptoms. Then there were flu patients in New York, Boston and other eastern towns, and the number began to soar. Soon, there was an epidemic in the Midwest of the United States.

was at the critical juncture of World War I. although the epidemic was serious, the US military believed that many things were more important than influenza. Subsequently, the United States began to send more troops to the European battlefield. There were three spare coffins on every troop carrier going to Europe. At first, the people on board thought that these terrible things were useless except for bad luck. However, at this time, how could they understand that they were embarking on a journey of death, and the ship they took was later called “the ship of death”.

two days after departure, the flu began to break out on the ship. The soldiers fell down one by one. Each coffin was filled with soldiers’ bodies and then thrown into the sea. All kinds of corpses were buried on the coffins one after another, and people could only die directly. After 14 days of sailing, these ships finally reached the destination – the port of Saint lazere, France, but by this time, more than half of the soldiers had died. The survivors on board thought that they would completely get rid of the shadow of terror after landing. However, how could they think that from the moment they set foot on the European continent, influenza also began its new journey, and a global disaster detonated from then on.

in April 1918, there was an epidemic in the French army, followed by the armies of Britain and other countries. By may, the influenza virus had spread to Italy, Spain, Germany, Africa, Mumbai and Calcutta in India. In June, the returning British Army brought the virus back to Britain, and then gradually spread to Russia, China, the Philippines and New Zealand. By January 1919, the flu had spread to Australia. In less than a year, this shadow shrouded the world.

the God of death attacked

. This influenza virus spread very fast and spread widely. At the same time, it also caused a huge number of deaths. After infection, the time from onset to death is very short. And different from the previous “cold”, this virus not only kills the elderly and children with weak resistance, but also does not let go of the young and strong people.

a woman at that time was using the air purifier

. In October 1918, the influenza mortality rate in the United States broke the historical record, reaching 5%, and a total of 500000 people died. On October 10 alone, 759 people died of flu in Philadelphia, all hospitals became morgues, and there were many unclaimed bodies on the street. At this time, the tomb diggers became the busiest crowd. They operated the excavator day and night. Coffins were also in short supply, and most of the dead had to be buried in blankets. The terrible smell of death pervaded the whole United States. People felt unprecedented helplessness. All kinds of entertainment places were already empty, trams were no longer crowded, schools were no longer noisy, everything was so quiet and everywhere was depressed.

in Spain, including King Alfonso III, 8 million people fell ill and countless died. Among them, 13 citizens in Madrid were infected, some government departments were forced to close down and trams were no longer running. In Britain, George V was also not spared, and 200000 people in England and Wales fell ill and died. Seven million people died in Mumbai, India. After the flu, only about 80 people in the small village of SUD, Alaska, were able to stay away from the hustle and bustle of the permafrost peninsula. Many countries in the world have corpses everywhere, even piled up like mountains, with funerals all over the streets during the day and ambulances shuttling at night.

in March 1918, the influenza spread to China. In the following period of time, the epidemic spread rapidly from Guangzhou to northeast, Shanghai to Sichuan。 More than half of the police in Peiping fell ill, and more than 40% of the people in Harbin were infected. For a time, schools and shops were closed, and there was no one above the street.

the sudden disaster brought endless panic to people, and even the fierce and cruel war at that time was beyond people’s time. People hide at home all day and dare not go out. In northern India, large tracts of crops in the fields are abandoned; In Poland, a lot of potatoes rot in the field; In the tropics, even coffee and rubber have not been harvested. Banks in many countries have begun to close down and large-scale industrial production has stopped. Bus stations, railway stations, ports and docks have become unprecedentedly deserted.

during the outbreak of influenza, people crowded into churches to pray to God to resist influenza

at the same time of the outbreak of influenza, the first World War also reached a critical period, and the huge consumption caused by the war has exhausted the allies and allies. In 1917, the American army entered the battlefield, which formed the great advantage of the allies. However, in November of the same year, because of the outbreak of the October Revolution, Russia withdrew from the war, which freed Germany from the plight of the war. In March 1918, the German commander concentrated all his forces and gave a fierce attack on the British and French coalition forces. By March 27, Germany had reached a place only more than ten kilometers away from Paris, and the victory was within reach. However, at this time, an unprecedented pandemic influenza broke out. The United States, which continues to send more troops to the European battlefield, brought the flu virus here. Although a large number of American soldiers, British and French soldiers were infected and died, Germany was not spared. In the German army, more than 30% of the combatants were affected, and many German soldiers fled everywhere in order to avoid the plague. In the next five months, plus the deaths in the war, the German army lost 800000 troops. Then the German allies broke up and withdrew from the war. In November, Germany was forced to decide to seek peace, and the first World War came to an end. To some extent, the outbreak of pandemic influenza accelerated the pace of the end of the war.

in 1918, the European pandemic

in this terrible disaster, about 1 billion people were infected and 20-40 million people died. A historian called this influenza “the largest infectious disease experienced by humans”.

trace the source

since the emergence of influenza in 1918, people have been looking for the culprit of this disaster. Due to the rapid spread of the influenza virus and the blockade of the news of the outbreak in various countries in the world war at that time, people have never been able to determine where it originated. Spain, as a neutral country and the first to announce the epidemic at that time, became a scapegoat. For this reason, the flu is also known as “Spanish flu”.

because of the limitation of scientific and technological level at that time, the research progress on the cause of the disaster was very slow. In 1918, scientists announced the pathogenic bacterium, but then found that it was not the real killer; In 1933, human influenza virus was isolated for the first time, but as last time, it was soon confirmed that it was not the real culprit. In the following 60 years, scientists went one after another and suffered numerous setbacks and failures. Until one day in 1997, Jeffrey taubenberg, an American scientist, suddenly found that the 1918 influenza virus was very similar to the swine flu virus and was a virus closely related to influenza A virus, which really solved the mystery of the “1918 Massacre”.


generally speaking, influenza viruses have many forms, some are filamentous, some are rod-shaped, but most are spherical. The structure of influenza virus mainly includes two parts: the inner core (i.e. nucleocapsid) and the outer envelope (i.e. virus envelope). Schematic diagram of

influenza virus

virus is wrapped by the shell (capsule); The outermost ones are hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA). HA and Na “tie” on the capsule like pins; The middle layer of the shell is lipid, which is a quilt wrapped by the virus when it comes out of the cell; The innermost layer of the shell is intimal protein (m), which is the scaffold of the shell and plays a role in maintaining the virus shape.

inside the influenza virus is the genetic material ribonucleic acid (RNA), which forms a structure called ribonucleoprotein (RNP) together with the proteins surrounding it. Multiple RNP structures together constitute the core of influenza virus.

generally, influenza viruses often accompany the stimulation of the external environment, such as drugs and rays, which makes their simple structure constantly mutate, so as to escape the specific resistance produced by animals or human bodies. In order to prevent influenza, scientists have developed various vaccines through a large number of experimental research. However, with the continuous enhancement of human resistance, the virus is also mutating. Over time, the original antibodies gradually lose their killing ability, and the evolved viruses are more tenacious. They continue to infect animals and humans.