The Stars Are Right: The Irish Rose: Kansas City Influenza

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Influenza Outbreak Calls for Quarantine.[edit]

From the Kansas City Star dated November 21, 1928

Twenty-nine dead in Holliday.

Kansas State health officials have issued a quarantine order for the town of Holliday, Kansas and the surrounding area. The quarantine order, which went into effect at 6:30 am today, included the town of Holliday and all areas within a five mile radius.

Officials state that the outbreak of the influence has reached "controlled but epidemic proportions." Currently there are 29 confirmed deaths, and perhaps as many as 20 more unconfirmed.

The first symptoms of the influenza appeared in the township of Holliday on November 17th. A number of citizens were taken ill suddenly after attending a tent revival meeting. Within three days the influenza had spread throughout the town and reached some of the farms in outlying districts.

The influenza appears to be a stronger and more contagious strain than that of the 1919 epidemic. Most victims of the "Kansas City flu," as it has been named, are struck by death following the first onset of symptoms within 12 to 24 hours of contracting the disease.

Due to the high risk of contagion and death, the State Health Board asks that only doctors and nurses without near kin volunteer for work in the township.

Nurse Josephine Ringer, with the Health Board, spoke to this paper over the telephone to give a more accurate assessment of the situation in Holliday.

"The worst of the epidemic may now be contained since the quarantine order has been granted.

"While most of the people who have contracted the influenza are local, there are still an undetermined number of travelers who have passed through the area who at risk. The onset of symptoms and death is very quick, sometimes no more than a few hours.

"While it is not the State Health Board's intent to precipitate a nation-wide panic, it is suggested that anyone exhibiting severe cold or influenza symptoms contact a doctor immediately. Especially if you have or may have been exposed to someone traveling the Kansas City area.

"We are attempting to minimize the spread of the infection," said Miss Ringer, "but the rail terminal in Kansas City is one of the largest transfer depots in the country, and any number of people may have passed through Holliday enroute to Kansas City.

"There may be people out there, somewhere, I am sure, that have contributed to the spread of the influenza already. It is a certainty that they know who they are, and that they should take all steps possible to avoid further contact with uninfected persons. I cannot emphasize enough how many innocent lives may be at stake, should they not heed my warning."

Roads leading into the area are now posted as closed, and all rail traffic is being rerouted through alternate lines. Persons traveling cross-country by rail are asked to book connections through other major cities, and to avoid the Kansas City Rail Exchange until further notice.

Relatives of persons living in the area may contact the Health Board in Kansas City for information regarding kin.