The winter of 1903 was a particularly stressful one for families in the Twinsburg area. A rash of scarlet fever cases spread across the region, forcing schools to close indefinitely. Children, more susceptible to the illness, were kept home to prevent the disease from infecting their classmates. Prior to the development of penicillin, scarlet fever was a debilitating illness commonly affecting those age five to fifteen with sore throats, high fevers, and a scarlet rash. Healthy students were also forced to stay home in 1918 and 1920 due to the spread of flu, with many taken ill. Spanish flu was a global event that caused illness and in some cases death for half a billion people.