In 1918 the world were given another pandemic, the Spanish flu, which seems to be called that, not because it was a virus that was created in Spain, but rather because we were the first to warn of the existence of a flu that was killing many people at that time. It seems that we were the only country that did not have censorship when talking about the disease, since Spain did not participate in the First World War, but we helped at the border with France, so we had news of what was happening in the world. The first news about the disease was published in the Madrid newspaper El Liberal on 21 May. The next day, El Sol included this note: “It seems that among the soldiers of the Madrid garrison there are many cases of illness not yet diagnosed by the doctors. In an artillery regiment, 80 soldiers have fallen ill with the same disease. In other regiments there are as many as 50 cases. (…) Undoubtedly, there is no difference between the illness observed in the barracks by our informants and that which has afflicted all of Madrid for days. (…) The symptoms under which the disease is presented are headache, chills, laxity, fever and joint pain, and the disease sometimes has thoracic and other intestinal manifestations”.
On June 2, The Times correspondent in Madrid echoed the epidemic and for the first time used the name “Spanish flu”: “Everybody thinks of it as the Spanish influenza today…”, since then, this pandemic has been known as the Spanish flu. We Spaniards referred to the disease as “the disease of fashion” or “the soldier of Naples”.
I leave you with some links to very interesting articles to learn more about the Spanish flu and to practice reading in Spanish: