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1918 Influenza in Alabama Timeline

September 28 - First Alabama Case Reported in Huntsville

Alabama’s first officially reported cases of Spanish influenza have developed in Madison and Conecuh Counties. Dr. C. A. Grote, health officer of Madison County, advised the State Board of Health yesterday that 11 cases have appeared in the Northern part of that county. The first case was imported from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, last week.

Dr. J. W. Haygood, health officer of Conecuh County, reported six cases have developed out in the rural section of that county. The cases were all in one family and are suspected to have been contracted from the father who was recently in Pensacola, Florida.

The Board of Health announced that proper quarantine precautions are being taken in every case. The public warned against using common towels and drinking cups, and care should be exercised in the use of telephones, handkerchiefs, and other means that might transmit secretions of the nose and throat from one person to another.

Source: "Spanish Influenza Appears in Montgomery." Birmingham News 28 September 1918.

October 5 - More Than 1,100 Cases Reported in Huntsville

Reported cases of Spanish influenza have increased to more than 1,100 in Huntsville. According to Dr. C. A. Grote, health officer of Madison County, there have been an additional 300 cases and seven deaths in the past 24 hours.

Source: "Influenza Epidemic Rages in Huntsville." Birmingham News 5 October 1918.

October 7 - Governor Orders Closing of Public Places

Source: "Governor Henderson: "Closing of Schools, Churches, Theatres, and Picture Shows." Birmingham News 7 October 1918.

October 13 - More Than 2,000 Cases Reported at WWI Camp Sheridan

Source: "2,367 Cases at at Camp Sheridan (Outside Montgomery)." Montgomery Advertiser 12 October 1918.

October 13 - Huntsville Left with One Pharmacist and No Physicians

A desperate situation exists in Huntsville growing out of the Spanish influenza epidemic. All druggists, physicians, and prescription clerks, except one, have been stricken with the disease, and a distressing appeal reached Montgomery last night in telegrams for immediate help for the stricken city.

Source: "All But One Pharmacist and All Physicians Stricken with Flu." Birmingham News 13 October 1918.

October 15 - City of Huntsville Curtails Businesses' Hours of Operation

Businesses ordered to curtail hours of operation as postal service is limited and power company employees out of work due to flu epidemic.

Source: "Huntsville: Business Demoralized, USPS Crippled, and Alabama Power Having Difficulty Finding Employees." Montgomery Advertiser 15 October 1918.

October 22 - More Than 12,000 Cases Reported in Montgomery

With 12,000 cases of Spanish influenza already reported in Montgomery and another 240 cases reported last week, only a few cases of pneumonia have developed. The greatest number of cases has been reported in the West End. In most sections of the city the number of reported cases have been nominal.

Public Health Service officials have worked diligently to relieve conditions in the West End. As a result, the number of cases has not materially increased, and there are daily signs of improvement. Yesterday, health service officials issued a statement declaring that the order closing all stores at 6:00 p.m. pertains to all sections of the city.

Source: "Nine Deaths from 'Flu' in This City." Montgomery Advertiser 22 October 1918.

Page last updated: May 13, 2021