Why did Gunnison escape flu pandemic in 1918?
GUNNISON - As public health officials plan for the potential spread of avian flu, they continually study the public record from 1918, when Spanish flu in short order killed far more people than in all of the horrors of World War I.
Some of Colorado's mountain towns were crippled. Silverton, then a going mining town, lost 10 percent of its inhabitants.
But Gunnison County, where Crested Butte is located, only lost two people. What was the difference?
At the first precautionary warning in 1918, schools were closed across Gunnison County, and remained so for at least two weeks. County officials also required certain places to remain closed for four weeks. Anybody wanting to enter the county was required to be quarantined for two days. The school and business closures were finally lifted after four months, say officials in Telluride, who have studied the past in Gunnison while trying to prepare for a potential pandemic flu transmitted by avian species.
In contrast, the flu was transmitted at a public gathering in Silverton.