Spokane and the Nation: The Influenza Epidemic of 1918-1919

Headline: “Discover Serum for Influenza”

Source: Spokesman-Review, September 29, 1918, page 3

Subject: Vaccination for influenza/The spreading epidemic

Synopsis: Doctors successfully tested a vaccine that shows great promise in stopping the onset of pneumonia. They are going to ship the vaccine to army camps in hopes that it will stop the spread of influenza. Congress has approved a million dollars to help fight the influenza. The epidemic has yet to be stopped, with over 8,000 new cases developing the previous day. The Great Lakes naval station in Chicago reported a decrease in the number of new cases.

Notable Quotations:

• “Physicians connected with the army medical school developed the formula for the serum, which, it was said tonight, is now being made in quantities sufficient to provide for the treatment of 50,000 persons daily.”

• “One treatment with the vaccine only is needed.”

• “A large increase also is shown in the number of deaths resulting from pneumonia, 247 having been reported, against 170 for the previous day.”

“Discover Serum for Influenza”

Army Doctors Develop Positive Preventive Against Danger of Pneumonia.

Tests Prove Success

Over 8000 New Cases of Spanish Malady Are Reported in the Last 24 Hours.

            WASHINGTON, Sept. 28. – Vaccination with a recently discovered serum which from tests just completed at several army camps has been found to be an almost positive preventative against contraction of pneumonia, will be used to combat the epidemic of Spanish influenza, which in the week ended today had made its appearance in every state and in all but a few army camps, causing many deaths.

            Use of the vaccine will be widely extended, congress today having appropriated a million dollars to be used by the public health service in fighting Spanish influenza and other communicable diseases. The resolution carrying the appropriation, offered in the house by Representative Gillett of Massachusetts, was adopted by a unanimous vote in both houses.

            The public health service, aided by the medical forces of the army and navy, immediately took steps to render effective aid to all districts in which influenza has made its appearance. Nurses and doctors in large numbers will be dispatched to the camps.

To Supply 50,000 Daily.

            The serum has been used to a limited extent in several camps, but no announcement has been made of its discovery pending the results of widespread tests. Physicians connected with the army medical school developed the formula for the serum, which, it was said tonight, is now being made in quantities sufficient to provide for the treatment of 50,000 persons daily. The serum is designed primarily to prevent pneumonia, which often follows attacks of influenza and which is the cause of practically all the deaths attributed to influenza.

            One treatment with the vaccine only is needed.

51,217 Cases Reported.

            Reports received today by Acting Surgeon General Richard show that the influenza epidemic has not yet been checked.

            During the 24 hours ended at noon today 8830 new cases of the disease were reported, as compared with 6821 for the day before. The total number of cases in all camps was reported as 51,217. A large increase also is shown in the number of deaths resulting from pneumonia, 247 having been reported, against 170 for the previous day.

            A decided decrease, however, was shown in the number of new cases of pneumonia, 548 being reported today, as compared with 717 the day before.

            Camp Pike, Ark., reported 1624 new cases, the largest number from any camp. Decreases were shown at Camp Devens, Mass., and at Camp Lee, Va. New cases at Camp Meade, Md., increased from 484 yesterday to 1098 today, and at Camp Grant, Ill., from 689 to 864.

Decrease at Great Lakes.

            CHICAGO, Sept. 28. – For the first time since the outbreak of Spanish influenza at the Great Lakes naval training station on September 9 the number of sailors returned to duty after recovering from the disease far surpassed the number of new cases reported today. There were but 123 cases reported in the last 24 hours, according to a statement by Captain William A. Moffett.

            Sixty-seven deaths occurred during the 24 hours ended at 8 o’clock tonight. A total of 1969 sailors are now on the sick list, while the total number of cases since the start of the epidemic is 8998.