creating a narrative

The 1918 influenza swept through the United States. Military training camps preparing soldiers for WWI deployment became the perfect environment for the virus to spread. Soldiers were kept in tight quarters, each camp housed anywhere from 25,000 to 55,000 men. In March 1918, 100 soldiers at Camp Funston in Fort Riley, Kansas, had influenza like symptoms. Within a week those 100 cases had turned into more than 500. The first mention of an influenza virus appears in a public health report in April 1918. Soon after 18 severe cases and three deaths from the influenza virus occurred coming from a base in Haskell, Kansas. After completing training soldiers were on ships going across the Atlantic to join the war in Europe, this seemed to only increase the spread of the influenza and help bring it to Europe. The flu was sporadic over the summer until a second, even more deadly, wave hit in September of 1918. Once again, this wave started at a military base. This time the wave started at a base in Boston. In October 1918 195,000 Americans died from influenza. There was a shortage of nurses because so many were shipped to Europe to be military nurses. Another reason for the nursing shortage was the refusal to use black nurses. At this point many cities started closing night schools and theaters to limit gatherings in hopes of slowing the spread of influenza. A third wave emerged in 1919, killing many more, but subsided in the summer of 1919. A catalyst of the third wave was soldiers returning home from the war in Europe in large numbers. Although the influenza epidemic lasted only a few short years, it has left a lasting impact on the United States.

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