The Spanish Flu Did Not Originate In Spain

Why wasn’t it called the American flu?

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Interesting Facts in Easy English

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

  • originate: begin
  • neutral: not involved in a conflict
  • censorship: the practice of restricting information
  • influenza: a viral infection that can be passed on (flu)
  • in one’s prime: in the most productive years of one’s life (approximately ages 20-40)

The Spanish Flu Did Not Originate In Spain

The Spanish flu of 1918 is the deadliest pandemic in . It spread around the world from 1918-1919 at the end of World War I. Approximately 50 million died, and 20-40% of the world’s population got sick. Despite the name, the flu did not originate in Spain. News about the flu was in Spain because it was a neutral country without wartime censorship. Other countries in the war were not allowed to spread news that could hurt the . While the origin of the flu is not known for sure, the first case may have occurred in Kansas. Influenza outbreaks typically kill those with weak immune systems; however, the Spanish flu did the . Many of those who died of the Spanish flu were healthy adults in their prime. Victims died within a few hours or days of contracting the disease. The Spanish flu vanished suddenly after two years.

Comprehension Questions

  1. When did the Spanish flu take place?
  2. Why was it called the “Spanish” flu?
  3. What often happened to people who contracted the disease?

Discussion Questions: Do you think a pandemic of this size will happen again? If yes, how will it be different? If no, why not?

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