The Spanish flu of 1918, the deadliest pandemic of modern times, remains an enduring medical conundrum: no one knows for certain where it came from, how many it killed and why it ended so swiftly. Its virulence may have had more to do with malnourishment, poor hygiene and wartime troop movements than the nature of the virus. Its scale and spread were masked by official censorship.

And it wasn’t Spanish.

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