The newest area blogger, the Cecil County Observer, has published an interesting historical piece on the an earlier flu Epedemic in Cecil County. We’re clipping the introduction here. Click on the link at the bottom of this post to go to the full piece.
Flu fears are beginning to subside in Cecil County and surrounding areas as the so-called H1N1 virus or “swine flu” shows itself to be less deadly than when it surfaced in Mexico.
Yet flu remains something to take seriously, officials warn, especially when the historical record indicates that the world is overdue for a dangerous pandemic. The Spanish flu that struck worldwide in 1918-19 is often cited as the deadliest outbreak of the disease in modern times. An estimated 20 million to 50 million people died of the flu or complications such as pneumonia.
Even rural Cecil County was affected, with Spanish flu hitting hardest in the fall of 1918 into early 1919. All told, the Spanish flu or the pneumonia that was a secondary infection killed 157 Cecil County residents.
According to an article by Greg Birney in the Fall 2003 Cecil Historical Journal, Spanish flu became so rampant that the Cecil County Board of Health ordered all public gatherings suspended. Schools around the county, including West Nottingham Academy, were closed. Nearby Delaware College (now the University of Delaware) was turned into a hospital, according to Birney, with 135 cases of flu among the 425 students. (Interestingly, several cases of the most recent flu were reported at UD.)