Usually we all see flu as a minor problem, but now imagine such a flu pandemic, whether it is the largest known epidemic in human history that caused the death of 15% of the population living in its time: “Spanish flu / cold” or “SARS” as it is known among the people.

Spanish influenza influenced the whole world in the last months of the First World War, and, according to some historians, has a sufficiently shocking effect that will be an important factor in the end of the war, which lasts four years. As its name suggests, Spain is not the place where it emerged or was most frequently observed. So why is it called “Spanish” flu? It is the first time that Spanish media has been spoken and talked about because countries do not mention not to reduce their motivation for war, while Spain is non-war and free from censorship in the first world war.


The Spanish flu, which emerged in Kansas City, USA in the spring of 1918, not only affected the First World War, but also killed millions of people. The fact that social mobility is high due to the war period has facilitated the spread of this disease comfortably all over the world. New vaccine trials and new drugs have been produced to prevent the outbreak, but these efforts have not been able to prevent the spread of flu. Despite the gene sequence of the virus that caused the flu in 2005, there are still a lot of questions that are still waiting for an answer.

The disease, which was initially thought to be transmitted from animals to humans, was later recognized by the airway and the importance of wearing a mask for protection was understood. Although 100 years have passed since the epidemic during the cold war between 1918-1920, the findings we encountered are quite surprising:
– The age group with the greatest risk of disease and death was 20-40 years old, most of those who died were men and pregnant women.
– This situation also caused great damage to the society because there are many elderly and children in need of care.
– The most affected by the disease all over the world were poor, fed, poorly resident, poor immigrants and ethnic minorities.

The first symptom of the disease was breathing difficulties. The most interesting thing in the symptoms is the patient’s face turns red brown, and then the blue becomes jet black when he dies. For most cases, the cause of death was not the flu itself, but the pneumonia caused by bacteria that settled in the wounds caused by the virus in the lung. Patients showed symptoms such as tooth and hair loss, dizziness, insomnia, loss of vision and hearing. The survivors had a deep depression after the virus infection. After such an epidemic, significant changes were made in the field of public health. Health ministries were reorganized in many countries, and views towards better monitoring of illness and free provision of health services to everyone in need began to be viewed positively. In the poem of the Nazim Hikmet Kuvayı Milliye Epic from the Spanish flu, which shows its effect all over the world; Metin Eloğlu, on the other hand, mentioned the poem called by Lokman Hekim Sev.

1)1918 Flu Resulted In Current Lineage Of H1N1 Swine Influenza Viruses ScienceDaily.com
2) https://tr.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C4%B0spanyol_gribi

Beritan Gokyildiz

Marmara University, Bioengineering

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