The global flu outbreak of 1918 killed 50 million people worldwide, ranking as one of the deadliest epidemics in history.

For decades, scientists have debated where in the world the pandemic started, variously pinpointing its origins in France, China, the American Midwest, and beyond. Without a clear location, scientists have lacked a complete picture of the conditions that bred the disease and factors that might lead to similar outbreaks in the future.

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