One hundred years later, it’s long past time to drop “Spanish” from all discussion of this pandemic. If the flu started at a United States military base in Kansas, then the disease could and should be more aptly named.
In order to prevent future disasters, the US (and the rest of the world) must take a hard look at what really caused the pandemic.
It is possible that one of the reasons the Spanish Flu has never been corrected is that it helps disguise the origin of the pandemic.
If the origin of the pandemic involved a vaccine experiment on US soldiers, then the US may prefer calling it Spanish Flu instead of The Fort Riley Bacteria of 1918, or something similar. The Spanish Flu started at the location this experimental bacterial vaccine was given making it the prime suspect as the source of the bacterial infections which killed so many.
It would be much more difficult to maintain the marketing mantra of “vaccines save lives” if a vaccine experiment originating in the United States during the years of primitive manufacturing caused the deaths of 50-100 million people.
“Vaccines save lives … except we may have killed 50-100 million people in 1918-19” is a far less effective sales slogan than the overly simplistic “vaccines save lives.”
THE DISEASE WHICH KILLED SO MANY WAS NOT FLU OR A VIRUS. IT WAS BACTERIAL.
During the mid-2000’s there was much talk about “pandemic preparedness.” Influenza vaccine manufacturers in the United States received billions of taxpayer dollars to develop vaccines to make sure that we don’t have another lethal pandemic “flu,” like the one in 1918-19.
Capitalizing on the “flu” part of Spanish flu helped vaccine manufacturers procure billion dollar checks from governments, even though scientists knew at the time that bacterial pneumonia was the real killer.
It is not my opinion that bacterial pneumonia was the real killer – thousands of autopsies confirm this fact.
According to a 2008 National Institute of Health paper, bacterial pneumonia was the killer in a minimum of 92.7% of the 1918-19 autopsies reviewed. It is likely higher than 92.7%.
The researchers looked at more than 9000 autopsies, and “there were no negative (bacterial) lung culture results.”
“… In the 68 higher-quality autopsy series, in which the possibility of unreported negative cultures could be excluded, 92.7% of autopsy lung cultures were positive for ≥1 bacterium. … in one study of approximately 9000 subjects who were followed from clinical presentation with influenza to resolution or autopsy, researchers obtained, with sterile technique, cultures of either pneumococci or streptococci from 164 of 167 lung tissue samples.
There were 89 pure cultures of pneumococci; 19 cultures from which only streptococci were recovered; 34 that yielded mixtures of pneumococci and/or streptococci; 22 that yielded a mixture of pneumococci, streptococci, and other organisms (prominently pneumococci and nonhemolytic streptococci); and 3 that yielded nonhemolytic streptococci alone. There were no negative lung culture results.” (3)
Pneumococci or streptococci were found in “164 of (the) 167 lung tissue samples” autopsied. That is 98.2%. Bacteria was the killer.
WHERE DID THE SPANISH FLU BACTERIAL PNEUMONIA OF 1918-19 ORIGINATE?