World War I was already nearing its conclusion when a new enemy appeared, one that had no concern for which side someone was on. Unlike the war, the Spanish flu claimed victims on all continents, with a mortality rate much higher than what has been considered normal in modern times. The disease swept across the world in multiple waves, and for a long time was shrouded in several layers of mystery—among other things, there is no way to accurately estimate the number of victims, and scientists also spent long decades seeking its origins.
There exist a number of theories about where the Spanish flu came from, and it is hard to decide which one is more accurate. There are several reasons why, despite the countless historical sources from the Modern Period, it is difficult to trace the outbreak of the Spanish flu back to its starting point. One is that it coincided with World War I, when the belligerents had introduced censorship, and reports of rampant illness would have hurt combat morale. Thus, most countries simply kept the disease a secret or downplayed its seriousness.
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