Outbreak: More Deadly Than War

U.S. National Library of Medicine
May 24, 2018
Media Photo/Video

Photos for News Media Use Only

Black and white photo of field hospital
U.S. National Library of Medicine

More Deadly Than War

During World War I, more people died from the influenza pandemic (estimated 50 million–100 million) than from the war (estimated 17 million). Over half of the deaths from the pandemic virus were adults between the ages of 20 and 40, rather than the young children and elderly who typically die from the flu. Hospitals were quickly overwhelmed by the number of people sick from the flu and the secondary pneumonia cases that followed. Temporary, often overcrowded, infirmaries were created in auditoriums and public buildings to care for the sick. This photo of flu victims during World War I is on display in the new exhibition, “Outbreak: Epidemics in a Connected World,” at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History through 2021.

Credit information: U.S. National Library of Medicine