NEWS CENTER MAINE -- They came down with normal flu symptoms. Within two days, they had a horrible pneumonia. A few days later, they were dead. It was a horrible death as victims basically drowned in their own fluids.

Five thousand Mainers died in the Great Flu Pandemic of 1918. Ironically, the disease claimed few young and old. It attacked the more vibrant, perhaps because it trick the immune system into an over reaction. Those with healthy immune systems were killed.

The Spanish Flu was spread by soldiers fighting World War I. More than half of its victims were between the ages of twenty and forty.

Forty to one hundred million people died world wide.

It was America's worst pandemic and drastically damaged a generation of Americans who also fought World War I.

From the ravages of disease was born new public health techniques. In response to the disease, the Catholic Church in Maine created what is now Mercy hospital.