Influenza Strikes the Oshkosh Community in 1918
The Wisconsin Legislature created the State Board of Health in 1876. The board, along with a strong public health network, responded with one of the best anti-influenza programs in the nation in 1918. Of the 25 registered states, Wisconsin ranked 4th lowest in death rates from influenza and pneumonia from September 1918 to June 1919.
flu killed indiscriminately. Its incubation period and the onset of symptoms
were so short that apparently healthy people in the prime of their lives
were suddenly overcome, and within an hour could become helpless with
fevers, delirium, and chills. Severe headache, pains in muscles and joints,
hair loss, acute congestion, and accompanying temperatures of 101°
to 105° occurred. The most unusual pathological finding was massive
pulmonary edema and/or hemorrhage. This pneumonia was a unique viral type-a
patient could be convalescing one day and dead the next. Those who survived
the flu often died of secondary bacterial pneumonia.