A century after the 1918 flu pandemic killed tens of thousands of New Yorkers, contagious diseases continue to shape our city.

On February 19th, 1881 — during one of the coldest winters on record — a headline in The New York Times spoke of an “Unusual Prevalence of Contagious Diseases” that year.

In just a few short months, the city had been afflicted with 550 deaths from diptheria, 88 deaths from smallpox, 508 deaths from scarlet fever, 76 deaths from measles plus dozens of cases of typhus fever and whooping cough.

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