Student project sources: Influenza in Alaska

Here’s a post with a ready-made student project in it: “Alaska and Eskimo data in 1920 British report,” at Grassroots Science (Alaska).

This would be a good AP History project, or a cross-discipline project for history and biology.

The influenza pandemic of 1918 killed millions, between 20 million and 40 million people by good estimates — it is estimated that 16 million died in India, alone. Soldiers returning from Europe and World War I carried the plague to hundreds of towns and villages where it might not have gone otherwise. The flu was a particularly deadly one for some people, striking them dead within 24 hours of the onset of symptoms.

Public health issues are largely disregarded in most U.S. and world history texts. This story, of the 1918 flu pandemic, needs to be told and studied carefully, however, because of the danger that such a thing could occur again. Small villages and towns need to be ready to deal with the effects, to try to prevent further spread, and to handle the crisis that occurs when many people in a small community die.

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