March 11 - 1918 - The First Reported Case of the Spanish Flu

Private Albert Gitchell reported to the infirmary at Camp Funston, part of Fort Riley in Kansas, with the typical symptoms of the flu early on March 11, 1918. By noon, over 100 soldiers had reported feeling ill. This breakout was well noted by the Army, but it took until a much more widespread outbreak in the late summer and early fall in Boston and Brest, France for people to realize that an epidemic was taking place. This particular flu was especially deadly, and strikingly seemed to effect the healthiest people, young adults, the most. As World War I was being fought and people were moving around the world more than usual, the flu was able to become truly global. It also acquired its famous name, "The Spanish Flu," because the press in neutral Spain did not have war time censorship and they reported on it the most. In certain remote areas, the South Pacific and the northern parts of Alaska, saw almost everyone become infected. In total, somewhere between 50 and 100 million people died all around the world.

William Floyd