The Spanish Flu Pandemic of 1918 was said to have been the largest pandemic the world has ever known, and conservatively speaking infected between 20 and 40 million people. Today that particular influenza strain is known as H1N1.
The first infections were reported towards the end of WWI (1914-1918) in Germany and Austria, and from there spread to Spain. In Spain more than 8 million civilians were infected in May 1918 alone. This exceptionally high infection rate led to the epidemic being called the Spanish Flu. From Spain it spread throughout the world along shipping routes by troop carrying ships. This also explains why men between the ages of 20 and 40 years accounted for more than half of the casualties. Continue reading