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The Flu Is Bad This Year. It Was 100 Years Ago, Too

The U.S Department of Health says over 600,000 people died from Spanish influenza across the United States in 1918

STATEWIDE -- It's safe to say that this flu season is pretty bad, but it was even worse 100 years ago.

In 1918, the United States saw the Spanish flu pandemic sweep across the country. It was so bad that it lasted into 1920. Records show the flu killed over 600,000 people in the U.S. and more than 50 million people worldwide.

Today's flu epidemic is causing the deaths of many children and elderly people, but the Spanish flu seemed to target young people between the ages of 20 and 40.

Spanish influenza first appeared in Indiana in the last week of September 1918. IndyStar says 90 people in Indianapolis were dead by October 18. The Northwest Indiana Times reports that by the end of the pandemic, over 1,000 people died in Lake County alone. 

There are conflicting reports on exactly how many Hoosiers died from Spanish influenza, but historians and epidemiologists with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believe it was around 10,000 people. The CDC says 350,000 Hoosiers came down with the flu before the virus began to disappear in the summer of 1919.

Today's flu epidemic might pale in comparison to the events of 1918, but the CDC says that with two strains of flu going around, you should get a second flu shot, even if you got one earlier in the flu year 

The State Department of Health says at least 165 Hoosiers have died this flu season.

(PHOTOS: Library of Congress)

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