1918 Pandemic Influenza: Three Waves
The 1918 influenza pandemic occurred in three waves and was the most severe pandemic in history.
First Wave – Spring 1918
During 1918, the U.S. was engaged in WWI. Hundreds and thousands of U.S. soldiers traveled across the Atlantic to deploy for war. The mass troop movement contributed to the global spread of flu.
More people died during the 1918 pandemic than the total number of military and civilian deaths that resulted from World War I.
Second Wave – Fall 1918
There were 3 different waves of illness during the pandemic, starting in March 1918 and subsiding by summer of 1919. The pandemic peaked in the U.S. during the second wave, in the fall of 1918. This highly fatal second wave was responsible for most of the U.S. deaths attributed to the pandemic.
Third Wave – Winter 1918
A third wave of illness occurred during the winter and spring of 1919, adding to the pandemic death toll. The third wave of the pandemic subsided during the summer of 1919.
An estimated 1/3 of the world’s population was infected with the 1918 flu virus – resulting in at least 50 million deaths worldwide.