FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – A century has passed since the Spanish Flu Pandemic killed off 3 to 5 percent of the world’s population (according to some estimates) when it hit in 1918.
Tarrant County Chief Epidemiologist Russell Jones spoke to CBS11 about the deadly virus that still has links to the Flu we are fighting now.
Jones said “The H3N2 has genetic components, and the current H1N1 has genetic components that go all the way back to 1918. They are all related to the mother of all pandemics.”
He went on to describe the Spanish Flu’s deadly path saying, “Fifty to 100 million worldwide. About 670,000 here in the United States. That was more than the four years of World War I. That was more than what we saw in the civil war.”
Today, Jones says there’s modern medicine and new tracking technology to help fight off the flu, but the practice of closing public spaces to prevent further spread started in 1918 and clearly still prevails today.
“Communities here in Texas — churches canceled services, schools were closed people tried to stay home and away from others,” says Jones about the way public places shut down in 1918.
He said even with modern advancements in the fight against the flu the one thing that has helped the virus remain prolific is human nature.
Jones added, “Our hands are made to manipulate things and touch our face and that’s a hard habit to break because we have been doing it for millions of years.”
That’s why he says washing hands regularly and wiping off surfaces is still a very effective way to combat the flu.