1918 The Overlooked Pandemic

Survivors and families reflect on their experiences with the influenza that killed thousands in Baltimore

Sun Special Report

October 20, 2006|By LINELL SMITH | LINELL SMITH,SUN REPORTER

Whiles soldiers fought the final battles of World War I in Europe, Americans at home were attacked by a deadly virus. in Baltimore, the flu sickened one-fourth of the populace. One of them was Molly Dora Schenker. Her son, Paul, who is now 103, holds a family portrait in which he stands at his mother's right. HIs account is one of several firsthand experiences that re-create a somber period of coffins and tolling bells. More than 50 readers were interviewed, along with historians and others, to show how the pandemic affected Baltimoreans and what lessons were learned. Public health officials are focusing on the avian flu and how they would deal with a global pandemic today.

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