Did your mother ever tell you not to drink from drinking fountains? If so, there is a good chance that her advice stemmed from fear of influenza.
In 1918, influenza, also know as the Spanish flu in the United States, spread quickly and killed an estimated 50 million to 100 million people around the world. In Rhode Island, thousands of people contracted the virus. Stricken residents died at a rate of more than fifty a day. Government officials called a state of emergency, medical personal struggled to find a way to contain the virus and treat the sick, and many Rhode Islanders succumbed to panic. Do you know local stories about the Great Pandemic of 1918? Share your stories and photos in the comment box (upper right).