Sunday, 12 December 2010

Spanish flu

As I progress with my transcription of tributes from the Stornoway Gazette for 1918, references to the "mystery illness", later identified as "influenza", begin to crop up. It starts as early as July 1918, and several islanders succumb to the 'flu, usually through the complication of pneumonia. Don't forget, this was the era before the advent of antibiotics; the discovery of penicillin was still another 15-20 years away. The pandemic, which lasted from 1917 until 1920, was to claim 50 to 100 million lives.

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