The New York Times/1918/04/03/Mysterious Epidemic Assails Ford Plant

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Mysterious Epidemic Assails Ford Plant

Published Wednesday, April 3, 1918


2,000 Workers Affected by Disease Resembling Grip—200 a Day Laying Off.

DETROIT, April 2.—Officials of the Ford Motor Company confirmed a report this afternoon that more than 200 men had been affected daily by a mysterious epidemic resembling grip, which has been prevalent in the plant. It is estimated that about 2,000 employes have been ill thus far.

Ernest G. Liebold, private secretary to Henry Ford, made this statement today:

"The disease seems to resemble grip. I have just returned to work after being laid up for three days. I do not feel very strong yet. Scores of men in the offices have been ill, while an average of 200 factory workers a day have been laying off for the last ten days.

"At first we thought the water might be contaminated in some manner due to Spring weather, but an analysis showed this theory to be wrong. The germs evidently are floating through the air."

The Ford Motor company has been doing a large amount of Government work.