Navigation Links
Understanding the 1918 flu pandemic can aid in better infectious disease response
Date:5/14/2014

COLUMBIA, Mo. The 1918 Flu Pandemic infected over 500 million people, killing at least 50 million. Now, a researcher at the University of Missouri has analyzed the pandemic in two remote regions of North America, finding that despite their geographical divide, both regions had environmental, nutritional and economic factors that influenced morbidity during the pandemic. Findings from the research could help improve current health policies.

"Epidemics such as the Black Death in the 14th century, cholera in the 19th century and malaria have been documented and recorded throughout history," said Lisa Sattenspiel, professor of anthropology in the College of Arts and Science at MU. "While it is probably impossible to consider all the dimensions of pandemics, such as cultural, social and political factors, we can get a 'snapshot' by pinpointing similar areas. Our research focused on the 1918 influenza pandemic in Labrador, Canada and Alaska, which are widely separated in space, yet have similar geographic and environmental constraints as well as ethnic overlap."

By analyzing death records and community history, Sattenspiel and her fellow researcher, Svenn-Erik Mamelund, senior researcher at the Work Research Institute of Oslo, found that both Labrador and Alaska were devastated by the 1918 pandemic. Beginning in January 1918 and lasting through December 1920, both regions experienced higher mortality rates than most other parts of the world34 percent and 8 percent, respectively.

Archival materials from Labrador and Alaska indicated that circulating pathogens, including pneumonia and tuberculosis, played a role in morbidity. Environmental influences, including harsh, stressful winters, and nutritional factors, such as lack of food, also played a role in susceptibility to influenza. Sattenspiel says that during the summer months in Labrador the influx of infected commercial fishermen played an important role in the milder first wave of the pandemic, while during the severe second (fall and winter) wave, the movements of fur traders and hunters were more important. Additionally, researchers found that transmission rates were higher in harsher climates where a greater proportion of daily life is conducted indoors.

"Inadequate access to health care contributed to higher mortality rates in the regions studied," Sattenspiel said. "Our findings indicate that today's infectious disease planning should include evaluating the placement of nurses and trained health care professionals who can administer vaccines and treatment. Programs that improve housing conditions and crowding may also help reduce disease transmission. Finally, contingency plans must take into account the remoteness of an area as well as distance to population centers and health care facilities."

Sattenspiel says that lessons learned from 20th century Labrador and Alaska illustrate how important it is to take a systemic approach if health officials are to improve our response to future infectious disease pandemics in today's world.

Her study, "Cocirculating epidemics, chronic health problems, and social conditions in early 20th century Labrador and Alaska," was published in the Annals of Anthropological Practice.


'/>"/>

Contact: Jeff Sossamon
sossamonj@missouri.edu
573-882-3346
University of Missouri-Columbia
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Major breakthrough in understanding Prader-Willi Syndrome, a parental imprinting disorder
2. Virus structure inspires novel understanding of onion-like carbon nanoparticles
3. Researchers identify new protein markers that may improve understanding of heart disease
4. Understanding plant-soil interaction could lead to new ways to combat weeds
5. Understanding binge eating and obesity
6. Plant biology discovery furthers scientists understanding of plant growth and development
7. Big stride in understanding PP1, the ubiquitous enzyme
8. Research of zebrafish neurons may lead to understanding of birth defects like spina bifida
9. Finding common ground fosters understanding of climate change
10. Cell division finding could boost understanding of cancer
11. IMPRESSIONS: Advancing understanding of the consequences of high-end climate change
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/5/2017)...  The Allen Institute for Cell Science today announces ... portal and dynamic digital window into the human cell. ... application of deep learning to create predictive models of ... a growing suite of powerful tools. The Allen Cell ... publicly available resources created and shared by the Allen ...
(Date:3/30/2017)... 30, 2017  On April 6-7, 2017, Sequencing.com will ... hackathon at Microsoft,s headquarters in ... focus on developing health and wellness apps that provide ... the Genome is the first hackathon for personal ... largest companies in the genomics, tech and health industries ...
(Date:3/27/2017)... 2017  Catholic Health Services (CHS) has been ... (HIMSS) Analytics for achieving Stage 6 on the ... In addition, CHS previously earned a place in ... electronic medical record (EMR). "HIMSS Analytics ... EMR usage in an outpatient setting.  This recognition ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... , ... Dr. Bob Harman, founder and CEO of VetStem Biopharma, Inc. ... The event entitled “Stem Cells and Their Regenerative Powers,” was held on August ... MPVM was joined by two human doctors: Peter B. Hanson, M.D., Chief of Orthopedic ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... Oct. 10, 2017 SomaGenics announced the receipt ... to develop RealSeq®-SC (Single Cell), expected to be the ... RNAs (including microRNAs) from single cells using NGS methods. ... need to accelerate development of approaches to analyze the ... "New techniques for measuring levels of mRNAs in ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... October 10, 2017 , ... The Pittcon Program Committee is ... honoring scientists who have made outstanding contributions to analytical chemistry and applied spectroscopy. ... world’s leading conference and exposition for laboratory science, which will be held February ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... ... , ... The award-winning American Farmer television series will feature 3 Bar Biologics ... at 8:30aET on RFD-TV. , With global population estimates nearing ten billion people ... to feed a growing nation. At the same time, many of our valuable resources ...
Breaking Biology Technology: