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ZAPmedia Explores Parallels Between the 1918 Spanish Influenza and H1N1

NEW YORK, Dec. 2, 2009ZAPmedia, leading publisher of under reported historical fiction, today explores the historical similarities and differences between the 1918 Spanish Influenza Pandemic and today’s H1N1 Pandemic. As fear of the H1N1 virus spreads worldwide, the media continues to draw parallels to the Spanish Influenza Pandemic of 1918-1920. Dr. Paula Phelan, author of 1919-Misfortune’s End, takes readers back to a time when World War I had just ended and the effects of the Spanish flu continued, ultimately impacting as many as a million U.S. citizens.

Spanish and H1N1 Influenza Pandemics:

  • The Spanish Influenza, an unusual strain of the avian flu, lasted from March of 1918 to June of 1920 spreading to nearly every part of the world. It was thought to be one of the deadliest pandemics in human history.
  • The 1918 flu pandemic is similar to H1N1 in that it was reported to have started in pigs, and first appeared as a mild strain in the spring, then came back with a vengeance the following winter. Experts fear H1N1 will act in a similar manner.
  • On June 11, 2009, the World Health Organization declared H1N1 a global pandemic, moving the alert level to Phase 6, which is characterized by human-to-human spread of the virus in at least two counties as well as a heightened level of outbreaks within communities.
  • The Spanish Influenza was a worldwide pandemic that killed 50-70 million people, 3-4 percent of the world’s population at the time. As of Nov. 2009, it was reported that around 6,250 people had died from the H1N1 flu.
  • An estimated 500 million individuals, one third of the population at the time, were infected with the Spanish Flu. On Nov. 8, 2009, the World Health Organization stated that 206 countries and overseas territories/communities have officially reported over 503,536 laboratory confirmed cases of the H1N1 flu.

1919 Misfortune’s End:

  • 1919-Misfortune’s End follows the lives of two American families through a twelve-month period of economic, political and social turmoil as the Spanish Influenza rapidly swept the world.
  • Written by author Paula Phelan, the novel follows the lives of fictional and historical characters through some of the most pivotal events of the early twentieth century.
  • Historical characters given voice include: J. Edgar Hoover, Woodrow Wilson, W.E.B. Dubois, Emma Goldman, Margaret Sanger and Helen Keller.

Excerpt from 1919 – Misfortune’s End:

“June awoke in the night and went to the bathroom to look at her face in the mirror. She wasn’t surprised when she saw her reflection tinged with blue. The illness had crept up on her. For all her knowledge of the disease it still took her by surprise. She returned to her room and dressed quietly as to not awaken Kay.

As a member of the hospital staff, June knew what to ask for from the night orderly. She was grateful that there was an empty bed near the window that allowed for a cool breeze. While still lucid she decided to put her affairs in order and began to write a letter to her family. When she grew too weak to continue, she called to a volunteer to help her finish.

The next day the flu attacked with a force that left June panting. Her chest filled with phlegm, coughs racked her body. Her joints were so sore it hurt to move or to stay still. Her mind no longer functioned linearly. Faces, events and colors popped in and out without her bidding. Her throat was on fire. She asked for water again and again, yet it did not sooth, only irritated her stomach, In twenty-four hours her skin had gone from smooth and supple to sallow and dry. Her elbows, lips and hands felt like sandpaper. The disease was sucking away her vitality.”

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About ZAPmedia
ZAPmedia is a boutique publisher of books, art and Web content located in New York City. Its primary goal is to identify and promote the works of new authors and artists that have exceptional and original talent, a vast wellspring of creative potential and are just beginning to find their voice and audience. ZAPmedia can be found on the World Wide Web at http://www.zapmedia.com.