Meredith Wadman reviews The End of Epidemics for the WSJ.

For scare value, the 2014 Ebola epidemic looms largest in recent memory; while it ended by killing “only” 11,310 people in West Africa, it looked for a time as if it might become a global catastrophe. But for deadliness, the 1918-19 Spanish influenza pandemic, which killed at least 50 million people, dwarfs any infectious outbreak of the past 100 years. Beginning in the spring of 1918, a flu virus that in a rare feat had evolved to be both highly contagious and extremely lethal swept the planet. Most often, it killed healthy adults in the prime of life. []

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