Popular Science

A hundred years later, we're still not sure why the Spanish flu killed so many people

Historical disease detectives are solving mysteries of the 1918 flu.

Old hospital

It can be difficult to find records from epidemics long past.

U.S. National Library of Medicine

One hundred years ago, a novel pandemic influenza virus spread rapidly around the world. It killed about 1 to 2 percent of the human population, primarily young and often healthy adults.

The centennial of the 1918 pandemic is a good time to take stock of how far the world has come since this historic health disaster—and to face the sobering fact that several key mysteries have yet to be resolved.

We and many other researchers around the world have been hard at

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