• U.S.

Medicine: Flu, but Mild

1 minute read

A shiver ran through London last week. The great city, which had come through the blitz without an epidemic, had an outbreak of flu. The disease was mild but it spread like wildfire. Thousands of offices worked at half-staff, the Belgian Ambassador was sick abed, 100 London Bus Company employes and a dozen M.P.s stayed home. And in other parts of Britain the fever raged—the Bristol transport services and many war plants were partially paralyzed. The last report (for the week ending Nov. 27), from cities comprising half Britain’s population, showed 375 deaths, more than three times the influenza deaths for the previous week. Britain’s Ministry of Health was not sufficiently impressed to term the outbreak an epidemic, because winter flu sometimes causes 2,000 deaths a week in peacetime Britain in February. But the British Medical Journal said the outbreak is serious because it is caused by a “real flu” virus.

The U.S. also had the flu last week. In Texas, Minnesota, Virginia and South Carolina, thousands were down with it. In North Chicago and Waukegan alone, 2,600 people were sick.

As in Britain, the cases were mild.

More Must-Reads from TIME

Contact us at letters@time.com