This Day in History: 1918 Flu Pandemic Begins

March 11, 2010

On this day, March 11, 92 years ago, a devastating public health crisis began in the U.S. The disease was called the "Spanish Influenza," and first hit soldiers at Fort Riley, Kansas, just back from fighting in Europe. The virus moved quickly and in October of 1918 195,000 Americans perished. In one day alone, 851 New Yorkers died. By 1920, nearly one-in-four Americans had suffered from this strain of the flu, killing a half-million of them. But even less dramatic forms of the disease are deadly. Each year, more than 56,000 Americans die of the flu and pneumonia.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau