Author(s): Borza T
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Abstract The Spanish flu pandemic killed between 50-100 million people worldwide in 1918-19. This article discusses Spanish flu in Norway between 1918-19 from three different approaches. How did Spanish flu affect Norway? Spanish flu was probably imported to Norway across the North Sea from Britain. From the middle of June 1918, Spanish flu swept across the country in three different waves: the summer epidemic of 1918, the autumn epidemic of 1918 and the winter epidemic of 1918-19. In Norway 13,000-15,000 died, most of them during the autumn of 1918 and mostly from pneumonia or pulmonary complications. What were the consequences? Most deaths occurred in young adults; many families experienced tragedies. Spanish flu is considered the worst demographic crisis of the twentieth century. The additional costs to the public purse were huge after the epidemic. Why was it that Spanish flu had such devastating effects? The virus causing the pandemic was very virulent and resulted in a higher mortality rate than that experienced during other pandemics. These characteristics may be explained by genetic features of the 1918 virus. This article points at conditions in Norway at the time of Spanish flu that may have contributed to the severity of the outbreak.
This article was published in Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen
and referenced in Journal of Antivirals & Antiretrovirals