WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Staying inside to avoid the flu? Or perhaps you are not convinced yet that a pandemic would be scary. Either way, the U.S. National Archives has a solution.
It has posted an online exhibit about the 1918 pandemic of influenza, the “Spanish flu” that took the lives of anywhere between 40 million and 100 million people, depending on the estimate.
“In this room were all stages of Indians lying dead or dying or advancing well to the conditions which followed the Flu,” Dr. D.A. Richardson writes in one letter to the Bureau of Indian Affairs describing the conditions at a reservation in New Mexico in October 1918.
A nurse from Kansas, “As many as 90 people die here every day with the ‘Flu’.”
So far the H1N1 swine flu virus has not been anywhere near as deadly, with 176 suspected deaths in Mexico, one in the United States, and mostly mild cases in nine other countries.
The exhibit, here also has photographs of policemen, typists and nurses with masks and a trolley operator keeping unmasked passengers from boarding.
Reporting by Maggie Fox; editing by Mohammad Zargham