Many of us will catch it at some point in our lives. The flu. A nasty infection that leaves you exhausted with fever, coughing, and aching all over. There are many types of flu and some are worse than others. Spanish flu is up there as one of the most notorious.
While you might guess that Spanish flu began in Spain, the truth is, we don’t know for sure where it started. What we do know is that when it hit in the early 20th Century, it spread across the entire world, infecting a third of the global population.
At the time World War I was still raging on. Not wanting to worsen morale, Germany, the UK, USA and France, who were all tied up in World War I, decided to keep reports of this deadly flu to a minimum. Spain however, which didn't get involved in this war, freely reported the true extent of devastation. So the name Spanish flu caught on as the world mistakenly thought Spain was hit hardest.
Spanish flu killed 1 in 5 people it infected and over 2 years took the lives of up 5% of the global population. This makes it one of the deadliest flu pandemics in human history.
We don’t know why the Spanish flu eventually disappeared but scientists today are still intrigued by it. Why? Because it is belongs to a family of flu viruses that are still causing trouble today.
Spanish flu is believed to have started in pigs and jumped to humans, making it originally a type of swine flu. In 2009 the world was hit by another swine flu pandemic, which is estimated to have killed over 200,000 people. Scientists continue to investigate the viruses behind these pandemics in the hopes of saving lives.