By Major Van Harl USAF Ret
Wisconsin –-(Ammoland.com)- In 2009 the Colonel and I attend a public health briefing about the H1N1 flu pandemic that was manifesting in the world that year.
In 1918-1920 there was a flu pandemic that killed in excess of 60 million people and by some later estimates it killed 100 million. This was the beginning of swine flu / H1N1. Because WW I was raging and both sides censored their press, very little correct information got out to the public. Spain was not in that war and their press was not censored, so most of the current and correct information about that flu pandemic came from Spain.
This is the reason the 1918 flu was called the Spanish flu. Spain got beat up for something they did not start, they just reported on it. The 1918 flu started in the US, at an Army camp in Kansas. A young farm boy, who was most likely exposed to the flu at home, joined the Army and took the potential mass killer with him. He infected the camp just as troops were being put on trains to the east coast. These soon to be dying soldiers boarded ships for France and by the time they got to Europe some ships had lost half the passengers to flu.
The US gave the world the 1918 flu.
Unbeknownst to America, we released the first 20th century, weapon of mass destruction. The Germans were winning the war, even with the introduction of fresh US Soldiers and Marines. As the flu spread out to the trenches of France it was passed over to the Germans. For some reason the German troops suffered higher rates of illness and death and in the end it forced Germany to surrender. An American soldier from Kansas gave the world this pandemic, not some pig or chicken from Asia spreading it’s germs on a peasant farm worker.
Well it would appear that the 2009-2010 H1N1 pandemic flu also started in the US, California to be precise.
When people hear the word pandemic they think millions will die from a spreading disease. Pandemic means there is a massive spreading out across the world of a disease, but it does not address the severity of that disease. The predicted severity in 2009-2010 did not happen. Historically many of the flu outbreaks in the past 100 years have attacked the old, the young and people with other existing health issues. The 2009-2010 H1N1 flu virus affected the young healthy adults in the 20-30 year range.
The Air Force Academy had an outbreak of H1N1 in June / July 2009 with the freshmen class of cadets. The new cadets were already headed to the field for training and were going to be split up in smaller groups. This allowed the Air Force to use what is called in the pandemic business, social distancing. Keep people away from other people and maybe they will not cross contaminate one another. They had hundreds of sick cadets, but no deaths.
The most startling point of the H1N1 briefing was the danger to pregnant women. Pregnant women who contract H1N1 have a six times greater chance of dying of this flu than any other category of people–six times the rate of death. 2009 was perhaps not a good year to be thinking about having a baby.
pH1N1 is back for the 2013-2014 flu season and it is killing pregnant women. If you are pregnant you truly need to get your flu shot right now. I suggest the mothers-to-be push their way to the head of the line. It is not understood why pregnant women have this dramatically higher rate of death, but to me it is the most stand-out point in this year’s flu season.
If you are obese, already have a compromised immune system or Native American you are in a very high risk category to contract and die from pH1N1 this year. Two pregnant women have died in Wisconsin this year from the flu—flu season is not over. The young adults who believe they are ten foot tall and bullet proof and did not get their flu shot are also suffering this season.
Influenza is a cruel way to died. In the words of Clint Eastwood “do you feel lucky?” Think real hard about getting vaccinated and even harder about starting that family in the coming spring after flu season. If you have children they need you more than a potential new family member.
“But it is just the flu” said President Wilson in 1918 who later died of complication of having the 1918 H1N1 flu.Major Van Harl USAF Ret.
About Major Van Harl USAF Ret.:Major Van E. Harl USAF Ret., a career Police Officer in the U.S. Air Force was born in Burlington, Iowa, USA, in 1955. He was the Deputy Chief of police at two Air Force Bases and the Commander of Law Enforcement Operations at another. He is a graduate of the U.S. Army Infantry School. A retired Colorado Ranger and currently is an Auxiliary Police Officer with the Cudahy PD in Milwaukee County, WI. His efforts now are directed at church campus safely and security training. He believes “evil hates organization.” firstname.lastname@example.org