1918 Spanish Flu actually started in Kansas

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The 1918 flu obtained its Spanish nickname because Spain was the first European nation to highly publicize the outbreak in that country. Other European nations also had outbreaks, but because of the war, newspapers were giving little, if any, publicity to bad news.

Most historical accounts, however, say the flu originated in Kansas, at Fort Riley’s Camp Funston. The first reports of soldiers getting sick occurred in March. Historians also think American soldiers sent to Europe were the main carriers of the disease to that continent.

According to the 2004 book “The Great Influenza” by John M. Barry, the origin of the flu may have been January or February in Haskell County in southwest Kansas. It then spread to Camp Funston.

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