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History…until you’re sick of it! - November 2, 2012

Q: For decades it was erroneously called “the Spanish Flu,” but perhaps it should have been called the “Kansas Flu.” According to a number of scholars, the first outbreak in the Great Influenza of 1918 can be traced to a rural county in southwest Kansas. Can you name the county?

GarfieldSchool Influenza_KHSThe Garfield School in Topeka, Kan., serving as an emergency hospital, possibly during the Spanish Influenza epidemic. Date: Between 1918 and 1919 (Image Courtesy of Kansas Historical Society /

A: Haskell County

TheGreatInfluenza JohnMBarryAccording to a number of researchers, including John M. Barry, Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the Center for Bioenvironmental Research of Tulane and Xavier Universities, Haskell County, Kan., was the location of the first outbreak of the flu of 1918. Eventually, it spread to Fort Riley and other locations around the world. Historians believe the virus may have killed as many as 100 million people worldwide. Barry makes the claim in his critically-acclaimed book The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History.



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