Lead: Contracted from pigs, in 1918 influenza began to spread through U.S. troops called up for service in World War I. Soon the disease had become an epidemic that spread through a world population already weakened by four years of war.

Tag: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Many experts believe the flu virus exists naturally in birds and is then transmitted to pigs where it mutates into a virulent form that in an infected human body causes fever, chills, weakness of the muscles and nausea. The virus makes its way through the air to its victim’s respiratory apparatus. It is a swift, clever, and sometimes deadly agent, a survivor of great tenacity. Influenza requires little more than a population weakened by hunger, other diseases, or war, to transform itself from a localized irritant to an epidemic of global proportions. In 1918 the world was ripe for the picking. 

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