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If you wonder what it was like to live through the 1918 flu pandemic ...

April 27, 2010 |  6:16 pm

Flu ... we have just the place to send you!

OK, so many of you may think you're 1918-'d out by now, but a special issue of Public Health Reports, the official publication of the U.S Public Health Service, may make you realize you weren't after all. It focuses on the 1918-19 pandemic as experienced in the U.S.

You'll find many essays there, including ones about the science of influenza, early attempts at vaccine production, how public health authorities and others struggled to cut down the spread of the disease -- and much more. The personal accounts are gripping -- of whole families so sick they were not aware that others in the house had died.

There are photos from the period too -- of people going about day-to-day life wearing masks, which were mandatory in some cities; of African American orderlies tending to white soldiers recovering from flu -- the military and hospitals were segregated; of San Francisco police courts held outdoors for fear of  flu transmission; and of old public-health warning posters alerting people to the symptoms and how they should respond.

-- Rosie Mestel 

Photo credit: Cynthia Goldsmith / AFP/Getty Images

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