The Spanish Flu Pandemic

November 7       7-9 p.m.


Join a panel of experts at Windsor Historical Society on Wednesday November 7 from 7 Ė 8 p.m. to hear more about the Spanish Flu Pandemic of 1918 which killed 100 million people throughout the world as World War I was ending.   Dr. Ralph Arcari of  UCONNís Department of Community Medicine, Dr. Brian Cooper,  head of the infectious diseases department at Hartford Hospital, and Dr. Charles Petrillo, Windsor Health Officer will discuss how the Spanish Flu spread in 1918, what people did to contain it, how it was treated, and what stopped it.   You will learn how disease transmission has evolved since then and what people can do to prepare for and contain new epidemics. Cost for the program only is $6 adults, $5 seniors and students, and $4 for WHS members. 


Following the program, the Town of Windsorís Health Department will be providing flu and pneumonia shots to Windsor residents age 60 and above and Windsor adults age 18 and above with chronic conditions.  The cost is $25 for flu shots and $30 for pneumonia shots (must be Windsor residents age 65 and over.)  The shots are free to those with the following insurance:  Medicare, Health Net, Aetna (PFFS) and Anthem blue Cross and Blue Shield.  Parking is available around Palisado Green and in the Windsor Discovery Center and First Church parking lots.


In 1918, a virulent strain of influenza erupted around the world.  The airborne virus spread quickly through the tight quarters of World War Iís many trenches and military camps.  Chills, high fever, backache and limb pain, and facial discoloration came on suddenly and often developed into pneumonia.  Many of those infected died within a week.


The influenza epidemic entered the U.S. through its ports and naval bases, hitting the hardest in autumn 1918.  The epidemic overwhelmed Camp Devens, Massachusetts, the military camp where most Windsor soldiers were trained.  In September, Reverend William Cornish, pastor of Windsorís Methodist Episcopal Church (now Trinity United Methodist) and a chaplain at Camp Devens, was one of the first at the camp to die from the flu.  By October, the camp had run out of hospital beds for infected soldiers.


The influenza epidemic quickly spread from military bases to cities and towns.  By October, new outbreaks were reported daily in Windsor.   Organizations canceled meetings and factories hung posters warning their employees not to spit, sneeze, or breathe on their co-workers.  Public service announcements encouraged people to get enough sleep, avoid strenuous work, and keep dry; but the virus continued to spread.  Over 40 Windsorites died during the outbreak and an unknown number were stricken but survived. 


The Spanish Flu program is offered in conjunction with the Societyís exhibition, Over There: Windsor and World War I, sponsored by The Connecticut Humanities Council, Alstom Power, an anonymous donor, Rabbett Insurance Agency, and Windsor Federal Savings, with support from The Kernan Agency.  William Harris and Charlene Li are program sponsors.  Guests are encouraged to tour the show before and after the program and discover Windsorís contributions to the war on the battlefield, home front, and in U.S. military posts.



Windsor Historical Society       96 Palisado Avenue       Windsor, CT 06095  


Tel:  860-688-3813

Fax:  (860) 687-1633




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Copyright © 2006 by Windsor Historical Society of Windsor, Connecticut, Inc.