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Thursday, December 13, 2018  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

100 years ago in Spokane: Flu death toll rises to 15 as city takes more action to limit crowds

UPDATED: Thu., Oct. 18, 2018, 6:46 a.m.

The death count from the Spanish influenza continued to climb in Spokane, the Spokane Daily Chronicle reported on Oct. 18, 1918. (Spokesman-Review archives)
The death count from the Spanish influenza continued to climb in Spokane, the Spokane Daily Chronicle reported on Oct. 18, 1918. (Spokesman-Review archives)

The Spanish flu death toll in Spokane jumped to 15, with five more deaths reported in one morning.

The flu was fatal not just to infants and the elderly. Many victims were in their 20s and 30s.

The number of flu cases also rose to nearly a thousand, which prompted city health officials to announce new, even stricter measures. All public gatherings – even open-air gatherings – were now banned, along with gatherings in private clubs. Schools, churches and theaters had already been closed for more than a week.

Most businesses were still open, but they were not allowed to hold sales or anything that might encourage crowds. The Washington Water Power streetcars were also running, but a new rule said that passengers were forbidden to stand in the aisles if all of the seats were taken.

Drug stores were running ads for supposed flu remedies, including an ad that said, “Build Up Your Blood and Fortify Your Body Against Spanish Influenza with Gude’s Pepto-Mangan, ‘The Red Blood Builder.’ ”

However, authorities emphasized that the only effective way to fight the epidemic was to reduce exposure by staying away from crowds.

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

1892: The first long-distance telephone line between New York and Chicago was officially opened (it could only handle one call at a time).


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