We’re living through history. There has been much speculation about what the coronavirus means for America and for our future as a country.

While none of us has lived through anything like this before, it is not the first time our country has been struck by a pandemic. The 1918 Flu Pandemic, at the end of World War I, infected nearly one-third of the world’s population and tragically killed approximately 675,000 Americans. The grit and ingenuity of Americans will carry us through now, as it did then and many times since.

To test your knowledge of this earlier pandemic, which is being referred to regularly by medical experts and others, the Ashbrook Center at Ashland University created the quiz below.


1. At the time of the 1918 pandemic, World War I had been going on for how many years?

A. Two

B. Four

C. Five

D. Eight


2. When did the United States declare war against Germany and officially enter World War I?

A. April 6, 1915

B. April 6, 1916

C. April 6, 1917

D. April 6, 1918


3. Who was president at the time of the pandemic?

A. Theodore Roosevelt

B. William Howard Taft

C. Woodrow Wilson

D. Warren G. Harding


4. The 1918 pandemic was caused by the H1N1 virus. Although the origin of the 1918 influenza is unknown, what was it called?

A. Swine flu

B. Avian flu

C. Asian flu

D. Spanish flu


5. The flu was first identified in the United States at what military installation?

A. Camp Funston, Kansas

B. Camp Meade, Maryland

C. Camp Devens, Massachusetts

D. Camp Jackson, South Carolina


6. Scientists now believe the 1918 flu originated in one of three countries. Which three countries have they narrowed it down to?

A. Spain, United States, France

B. United States, China, France

C. Spain, France, Germany

D. Japan, Italy, Spain


7. What was the average age of those who contracted the flu during the 1918 pandemic?

A. 28 years old

B. 41 years old

C. 54 years old

D. 66 years old


8. A 1918 Directive from the federal government to the American public included what advice?

A. Insist on fresh air

B. Keep out of crowds

C. Beware those who are coughing and sneezing

D. All of the above


9. The 1918 flu killed many more people than World War I did.  How many American service members died in combat in the war?

A. Approximately 20,000

B. Approximately 53,000

C. Approximately 79,000

D. Approximately 102,000


10. Because about 30 percent of American doctors were involved with the war effort, nurses played a major role in helping the ill during the flu pandemic. Who is credited with creating the concept of community nursing at this time and served as chairman of the Committee on Community Nursing of the American Red Cross?

A. Emily Greene Balch

B. Jane Addams

C. Lillian Wald

D. Marie Curie


Answers: 1-B, 2-C, 3-C, 4-D, 5-A, 6-B, 7-A, 8-D, 9-B, 10-C