• An article on influenza in “Military Preventive Medicine,” 1930. Courtesy of the University of California via HathiTrust.

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    Military preventive medicine, 1930
    • Date
    • 1930
    • Creator
    • Dunham, George C. (George Clark), b. 1887.
    • Rights
    • Public domain. Learn more at http://www.hathitrust.org/access_use
    • Partner
    • HathiTrust
    • Contributing Institution
    • University of California.

  • A Center for Disease Control and Prevention microbiologist examining a reconstructed version of the 1918 influenza virus. Courtesy of the Center for Disease Control.

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    Dr. Terrence Tumpey examines a reconstructed version of the 1918 flu
    • Date
    • 2005
    • Creator
    • James Gathany
    • Rights
    • Public Domain
    • Partner
    • Center for Disease Control
    • Is Part Of
    • Wikimedia Commons

  • A US Army nurse gives a US Air Force Staff Sergeant his annual flu shot, 1980. Courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration.

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    US Air Force (USAF) STAFF Sergeant (SSGT) Anthony L. DurantiA U.S. Army nurse gives an annual flu shot to an airman
    • Creator
    • Department of Defense. American Forces Information Service. Defense Visual Information Center. 1994-.
    • Description
    • The original finding aid described this photograph as: Base: West Berlin Country: Deutschland / Germany (DEU) Scene Camera Operator: Thomas B. Farr Release Status: Released to Public.
    • Rights
    • Unrestricted.
    • Partner
    • National Archives and Records Administration
    • Contributing Institution
    • National Archives at College Park - Still PicturesNational Archives at College Park - Still Pictures

  • A 1997 Armed Forces Institute of Pathology article titled "AFIP Scientists Discover Clues to 1918 Spanish Flu." Courtesy of the Medical Heritage Library via Internet Archive.

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    AFIP Letter Vol. 155, No. 2, April 1997
    • Date
    • 1997-04
    • Creator
    • U.S. Armed Forces Institute of Pathology
    • Description
    • AFIP Letter Vol. 155, No. 2, April 1997AFIP Scientists Discover Clues to 1918 Spanish Flu ....1Tumors of the Adrenal Gland and Extra-adrenal Paraganglia ....2New Technologies for the 21st Century by Michael J. Dickerson, Col, USAF, MC, The Director..... more
      AFIP Letter Vol. 155, No. 2, April 1997AFIP Scientists Discover Clues to 1918 Spanish Flu ....1Tumors of the Adrenal Gland and Extra-adrenal Paraganglia ....2New Technologies for the 21st Century by Michael J. Dickerson, Col, USAF, MC, The Director.... 2Spanish "Controversies" course set for Santos, Sao Paulo, Brazil, August 20-24 ....3William Inskeep II, COL, VC, USA appointed Chair, Department of Veterinary Pathology ....4William A. Gardner, Jr, MD, elected Chair, Scientific Advisory Board ...4Elson B. Helwig MD, receives Distinguished Pathologist Award ...5Sarah S. Frankel, MD, named winner of 1997 Castleman Award ....6FAXes replace case acknowledgement post cards ....6Museum archivist keeps history alive ....7Portable DNA analysis system delivered to AFIP by Elizabeth Campos Rajs, Lawrence Livermore Laboratory ....8AFIP on Global Environmental Collaboration: International Program on Environmental Health and Toxicologic Studies of Arsenosis, Fluorosis, and Thallium Endemic Areas in Southwest Guizhou Province, People's Republic of China ....9Tri-Service School of Histotechnology ....10 less
    • Rights
    • Access to the Internet Archive's Collections is granted for scholarship and research purposes only. Some of the content available through the Archive may be governed by local, national, and/or international laws and regulations, and your use of such ... more
      Access to the Internet Archive's Collections is granted for scholarship and research purposes only. Some of the content available through the Archive may be governed by local, national, and/or international laws and regulations, and your use of such content is solely at your own risk. less
    • Partner
    • Internet Archive
    • Contributing Institution
    • Internet Archive
      Medical Heritage Library

During the early twentieth century, medical knowledge of disease transmission improved as the pandemic accelerated public understanding of the importance of cleanliness in disease prevention. A newly developed vaccine for typhoid had stopped what was a primary cause of death among servicemen in past conflicts, and World War I inspired similar advances in influenza deterrence.

Almost as soon as the first outbreak began, scientists and physicians strived to pinpoint the origin of "Spanish Flu" in order to stop transmission. The resulting medical interventions happened so rapidly that by the war's end (less than a year after the pandemic's peak), losses from disease had already decreased due to better prevention and higher sanitation standards, as well as therapeutic and surgical developments. The post-war period brought continuing research and development, culminating in the discovery of an effective flu vaccine in 1945. Unfortunately, even these significant advances couldn't keep the flu completely at bay. A second flu pandemic swept the US in 1957-1958, taking another 70,000 lives, followed by another in 1968-1969, both of which led to a new, more effective flu vaccine for children in 1985. Recent years have brought further advances in influenza research, including better vaccines. All of these medical breakthroughs were set in motion by the pandemic of 1918.