The American Experience Online Examines Influenza 1918

Posted on March 2, 1999

There's a serious -- even deadly -- side to the pervasive aching-sneezing-coughing-wheezing maladies that winter brings. Although we've become accustomed to dealing with the winter flu, could we survive a disastrous flu outbreak like that of eighty years ago?

First detected at Fort Riley, Kansas, the influenza pandemic of 1918 killed 600,000 Americans -- more than all the wars of this century combined -- before it vanished as mysteriously as it had appeared. The "Influenza 1918" website retraces the terrifying development of the worst strain of influenza the United States has ever known, examines the factors that expedited the rapid spread of the killer flu, discusses why we were so quick to forget such an unprecedented event in our history, and debates if it could happen again.

Updated since its original launch in 1998, the "Influenza 1918" website accompanies the re-broadcast of The American Experience's one-hour documentary on Monday, March 1 at 9pm on PBS (check local listings). The American Experience Online appears on PBS Online.

The "Influenza 1918" Web site allows visitors to: The site also contains an enhanced program transcript, extended transcripts of interviews used in the program, a teachers' guide and a bibliography.

The American Experience Online produces a companion website for every new television broadcast of The American Experience, with information beyond the broadcast including program schedules, teachers' guides, audience feedback and links to related sites. The American Experience Online also produces WayBack: U.S. History for Kids, a Webzine targeted to kids ages 9 to 13, first released in November 1998.

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