American Experience : Influenza 1918 (1998)

Genres - History  |   Sub-Genres - Illnesses & Disabilities, Military & War, Social History  |   Run Time - 60 min.  |   Countries - United States   |  
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Synopsis by Brooke Hodess

It began in the spring of 1918 with an army private reporting to a military hospital and being diagnosed with the flu, a disease little understood by doctors. Before the year's end, the deadly disease would ravage America leaving 675,000 corpses in its wake. American Experience: Influenza 1918 is the story of the worst epidemic the United States has ever known. In 1918, America was at war and returning soldiers brought the flu back home. Within months, the disease spread from soldiers to civilians with the eastern seaboard the hardest hit. The speed at which the disease took its toll varied -- some felt healthy in the morning and were dead by nightfall while others endured a prolonged death as their lungs filled with fluid. Then, as quickly as it arrived, the epidemic vanished, having no more victims susceptible to its wrath. As David McCullough narrates, "Could it happen again? Yes, indeed, which is part of the haunting power of this film."



disease, outbreak, plague, quarantine, virus, epidemic, influenza