In 1918, during the final months of the First World War, an influenza epidemic swept across the world. This strain of influenza was unusual, in that it was particularly deadly among 20–40 year olds, the age group typically least at risk from flu-related mortality. Many victims of the pandemic appear to have died from respiratory failure due to secondary bacterial infections, which medicine at the time lacked the antibiotics to treat. Wartime censorship and military objectives often obstructed the public health response, and troop movements helped to spread the disease.
Worldwide, during the years 1918–19, the ‘Spanish Flu’ pandemic is estimated to have killed between 50 and 100 million people. Despite its massive impact on the world, the pandemic was largely written out of early 20th century history, possibly because of a wish to focus on the more heroic narrative of the war. The long-term repercussions of the ‘Spanish Flu’ lasted for generations, and have had both positive and negative impacts on societal resilience. This chapter discusses the pandemic, its impacts and effects, as well as its implications for modern public health practice.
The word ‘influenza’ was first coined during an outbreak in Renaissance-era Italy, in which it was noted that the populace attributed the disease to the malevolent ‘influence’ of the stars.1 Today, influenza still retains some of the mercurial and enigmatic character lent to it by this early classification. In abbreviated lay parlance it is often used to describe a mild cold (“a touch of the ‘flu’”), or the perceived malingering and tendency to exaggerate trivial symptoms by men (“don’t mind him, he’s just got man-flu”). And yet, in its pandemic form it remains at the top of public health risk registers for most developed nations.2
2 A Brief History of Infectious Disease Control
Human progress towards understanding and controlling infectious diseases throughout history has been slow and uneven, with occasional flashes of impressively forward thinking. In the 5th century b.c., for example, the philosopher Empedocles is reported to have successfully rid the city of Selinus of malaria by diverting rivers in order to remove a stagnant swampland.4 Trial and error over the next two millennia largely established the value of isolating the sick and enacting quarantines to prevent epidemics from entering uninfected cities or towns (or confining them in infected ones).5 The famous self-imposed quarantine of the Derbyshire village of Eyam during the Great Plague of 1665 reinforces the point that knowledge of the causal organism is not always necessary in order to enact successful counter-measures to its spread.6 Nevertheless,
This trend of historically slow progress towards understanding the true causes of disease went into abrupt overdrive in the generation prior to the First World War. Pasteur’s discovery of bacteria in the 1860s gave rise to Germ Theory, which led to radically beneficial changes in medical practice relating to infectious disease control.7 Vaccines began to be developed, which along with improvements in clean water and sanitation, meant that many of the major scourges of the 19th century were dramatically reduced by the onset of war in 1914.8 Disease-causing protozoa and fungi had also been identified, treatments were becoming more effective, and well-reasoned guesses were beginning to be made about the existence of tiny ‘filter-passing’ organisms that were too small to see under a microscope or to be impeded by a standard bacterial filter, yet nevertheless still had the power to make people ill. These hypothesized organisms, speculatively called ‘viruses’ (meaning ‘poisons’ in Latin), were known to be rendered harmless by extremes of temperature, and so were thought to be alive in some sense, but for now their existence was only a matter of conjecture.9
Despite the growing ascendency of Germ Theory in the early 1900s, many senior doctors at the time of the First World War had done their medical training prior to its discovery, so some older ideas (such as the ‘miasma’ theory of disease) still persisted.10 The disciplines of bacteriology and public health were still both still in their infancy, but becoming better recognized (especially in the military) as being important for epidemic control. Pathology and laboratory sciences, which could be highly dangerous pursuits in the absence of modern biohazard precautions,11 were used to good effect in the Spanish-American war of 1898 and also during the Balkan Wars of 1912–13.12 This represented the beginning of a much needed counter-offensive in the
Influenza was a disease that both gratified and frustrated practitioners of the science of medicine during this period. In its habit of mostly killing the elderly or infirm it was sometimes regarded as a merciful disease, and also a relatively congenial one for doctors who were paid per visit and could expect a bonus if their patient recovered. An illness of which many suffered but relatively few died, was therefore good for business. However, its causal organism still eluded scientific enquiry. A bacterium, now known as Haemophilus influenzae,15 had been identified as being so commonly found in the lungs of autopsied influenza victims that some scientists thought it was the illness’ cause, while others suggested that one of the hypothesized ‘viruses’ was a more likely candidate.16 There had been an influenza pandemic in the late 1880s, which killed roughly 1 million people around the world, and which was observed at the time to disproportionately affect soldiers in crowded barracks.17 At the outbreak of the war in 1914, medical personnel on all sides of the conflict were mobilized in large numbers to fight the familiar military diseases of typhus, measles, and cholera.18 No one was prepared for what they actually faced.
3 The Pandemic
The precise beginning and end of the ‘Spanish Flu’ pandemic – so called because neutral Spain actually reported on the disease, while belligerent nations officially suppressed the news19 – is difficult to cleanly define.20 The generally agreed epidemiological pattern is of three sequential waves of varying severity: in the spring of 1918 (low fatality), autumn of 1918 (high fatality) and spring-summer of 1919 (moderate fatality) (Fig. 11.1).21 However, some researchers have drawn attention to earlier outbreaks of atypical respiratory disease in British army barracks and French military camps in 1916–17.22 Under-reporting in the chaos of the First World War was a significant problem, and influenza was easily mistaken for some of the other febrile and debilitating illnesses caused by the unhygienic conditions that soldiers lived in, such as Trench Fever (now known to be caused by Bartonella Quintana infection transmitted by lice).23 Indeed, it is not completely certain that all three waves were caused by the same disease. Genetic testing has thus far only been possible on samples taken from victims of the second wave, and some people at the time thought that this must be a wholly new disease due to its unprecedented virulence.24 However, the working assumption among most scientists and historians is that the H1N1 influenza virus, identified in the lungs of permafrost-frozen corpses in the Arctic, was responsible for all three peaks of the pandemic.25 We will proceed upon that assumption.
The disease, which at the time was known variously as ‘Spanish Lady’,26 ‘French Flu’ (in Spain),27 and the ‘Purple Death’28 may have had both avian and swine elements to its genetic make-up.29 Its origins have been variously suggested to have been Europe, Southern China, or the Midwest of America.30 Wherever it originally came from, it detonated in early 1918 at the epidemiological Ground Zero of the Western Front – an area that had already been the setting for some of the most profound, noble, and yet ultimately futile human suffering in recorded history31 – and promptly made conditions there a good deal worse. What were described at the time as the “relentless needs of warfare”,32 swept virtually all public health considerations aside and created the perfect storm of overcrowding and forced troop movements across and between continents to spread the disease far and wide.33 This novel strain of H1N1 successfully exploited a man-made ecological niche created by the greatest mass population movements in history; to take the most unambiguous example, during the last six months of the war, an estimated 1.5 million American soldiers crossed the
Men aged 20–40 years old were disproportionately likely to die during the pandemic. Although the most intuitive explanation for this trend would be that the privations of trench warfare made military age men more susceptible to complications, the pattern also held true for civilians and for those living in non-belligerent countries.36 The diary of a soldier who lived through a troop
Years later, medical personnel who saw the disease first-hand still marvelled at the “furious speed” with which it spread, not only through communities (military and civilian) but across continents.39 Historical conspiracy theorists would find great scope in the contemporary and modern reports that the pandemic seemed to appear in many parts of the world simultaneously, so rapidly did it travel.40 Patriotic fervour and demonization of the enemy gave traction to Allied rumours that the Germans were engaging in biological warfare, possibly through gases released from U-boats.41 Some also observed that the symptoms of ‘Spanish Flu’ closely resembled those of phosgene gas poisoning.42 With the benefit of access to the historical records of both sides in the conflict, and a clear understanding of scientific progress at the time, we can safely dismiss these speculations while still being awed by the speed with which a pandemic could spread around the world even at the very beginning of the era of globalisation.43
‘Spanish Flu’ appears (no doubt there is some reporting bias here) to have engulfed almost the entire world in a matter of weeks.44 From the Allied side of the Western Front it leapt across No Mans’ Land to the German side, likely by way of captured enemy prisoners,45 and thereafter was quickly spread to
Public health response to the pandemic was patchy, due in part to incomplete knowledge and in part to the greater priority assigned by most decision makers to military objectives. In some areas, such as Australia, successful quarantine measures were enacted once news of the second wave began to arrive, and this may well account for their proportionally low (although still significant) mortality figures.51 In other parts of the world, especially those most befuddled by the fog of war, folk remedies and quack cures abounded in the absence of a well-organized state response.52 The civilian populations of belligerent nations were left especially unprotected against disease outbreaks, not only by the nutritional austerity of wartime, but also because a large percentage of their trained medical and nursing staff were overseas, seconded to the military.53 And the military, for their part, were too often living in overcrowded, poorly-ventilated quarters, which dramatically enhanced the spread of disease within the ranks of those fighting the optimistically named ‘war to end all wars’.54
Isolation of the infected, one of the tried-and-tested methods of infectious disease control, was frequently made impossible by the unwillingness of military leaders to prioritize public health over war-winning objectives
The war, and (by modern standards) very poor data collection systems, frustrated contemporary efforts to both measure the true scale of the catastrophe and to effectively combat it at the time.60 The estimated number of deaths worldwide, from all three known waves of the pandemic, has been gradually revised upwards over the last 100 years as better information has become available. The consensus view over the last decade has been that the ‘Spanish Flu’ killed between 50–100 million people.61
4 How did the Pandemic Affect the War?
The First World War has often been cited as a turning point in the history of warfare. In wars prior to 1914 it was almost invariably the case that deaths from infectious diseases would exceed the deaths caused by combat.62 The scales were being tipped from both directions by the start of the 20th century, with increasing medical knowledge successfully reducing outbreaks of disease, as well as curing those who contracted them, and also by the increasing efficiency of battlefield weaponry, killing the enemy in far greater numbers than ever was possible before. However, whether you consider the First World War to be in fact the tipping point, or merely the last triumph of disease’s long ascendancy in wartime deaths, very much depends upon how you factor in the ‘Spanish Flu’.63 If civilian casualties of the pandemic are included in the calculation then diseases could have killed up to ten times as many as were killed by combat between 1914 and 1918.
In terms of the effect of the pandemic on the course of the war, there is necessarily some uncertainty about this. The opinions of observers at the time, and those of historians up to the present, can provide us with probabilities and informed opinion, but since it is not possible to know what would have happened if the ‘Spanish Flu’ had not emerged when it did, there will always be an element of speculation. Other infectious diseases that were prevalent in sections of the military during the First World War are generally thought to
‘Spanish Flu’ certainly sapped the strength of all sides in a similar way. By July of 1918 there were widespread outbreaks on both sides of the conflict, causing significant morbidity and mortality among the soldiers who would otherwise have been mustering for last ditch strikes against the enemy.66 Those victims that ‘Spanish Flu’ did not kill, it temporarily incapacitated, and the ill were (in some ways) more of a burden to the military than the dead, in that they needed caring for, thereby diverting resources from the fighting.67 Also, at a time when both sides were relying more and more heavily on reserve troops to relieve the exhausted frontline divisions, the pandemic frequently picked them off as they arrived; new recruits, lacking any partial immunity from exposure to previous waves of the disease along the Western Front, had by far the highest mortality.68 The U.S. military, entering the war in 1917 on the Allied side, were heavily affected, by some estimates losing at least as many soldiers to ‘Spanish Flu’ as they did in combat.69 All of this would argue for the pandemic having probably lengthened the war.
However, the alternative possibility is also worth considering. The ‘Spanish Flu’ struck in the final year of the war, at a moment when Germany was close to defeat but still had some important cards left to play. In the spring of 1918, German forces on the Western Front launched the Kaiserschlacht (Kaiser’s Battle), intended to be a series of decisive blows that would drive the Allied forces back across France until their backs were against the English Channel. They were strengthened by large numbers of troops and resources from the Eastern Front, redeployed following the withdrawal of Russia from the war.
Other factors included exhaustion, low morale, and political upheavals within the German army. The German High Command had been successful in fomenting a rebellion in Russia that removed their eastern enemy from the war, but the same anti-war sentiments which had animated the revolutionary workers’ councils (or ‘Soviets’) were also spreading through their own ranks. However, General Erich von Ludendorff, commander of the German forces, wrote after the war that the pandemic had been a significant factor preventing the success of the Kaiserschlacht.71 Without that victory, Germany was no longer in a position to win the war, and was consequently forced to begin considering the terms of surrender.72 It could be argued that von Ludendorff would have had a bias in favour of attributing the Kaiserschlacht’s failure to the pandemic, since he could hardly be blamed for it. However, it is also plausible that without the impact of the ‘Spanish Flu’ on what could have been a decisive turning of the tide against the Allies, the war could have gone on much longer.
Although the historical connection is now well established, popular narratives of war do not tend to prominently feature the role that infectious diseases can play in bringing about either victory or defeat. During the American War of Independence, George Washington had his soldiers vaccinated against smallpox, which was then endemic in North America. As a result, the Continental Army lost many fewer men to the disease than the British and Loyalist forces, which is now considered by historians to have been a significant factor in ensuring victory for what later became the United States.73 As with the impact of ‘Spanish Flu’ on the outcome of the First World War, this interpretation rarely prevails over the more nationalistically affirming ‘superior tactics, valour and force of arms’ explanation for military outcomes. As the anthropologist Jared
It scarcely needs to be said that the ‘Spanish Flu’ had enormous impacts beyond any effect that it may have exerted upon the outcome of the First World War. Around the world, 500 million people are thought to have been infected over the course of the pandemic, which continued well into 1919.75 In the postwar years, while millions of civilians were dying of typhus, tuberculosis, and other diseases associated with the malnutrition, overcrowding and poor sanitation in refugee camps, bombed cities, or devastated farming communities, ‘Spanish Flu’ was also quietly taking its toll.76 The global social and economic impacts were exacerbated because the dead were so often those of productive working age, causing labour shortages in cities77 and famines in rural areas.78 It took as many as 100 million lives and immiserated many times that number, and then, seemingly, it vanished from the public memory. Histories of the period published in the first half of the 20th century rarely mentioned it, and popular culture gave it little or no attention.79 But forgotten or not, it continued to have an impact on society, medicine, and resilience.
5 Longer Term Impacts
The most truly awful, yet plausible, long-term impact of the ‘Spanish Flu’ pandemic is that it may have contributed to setting the scene for the Second World War. In April 1919, evidence suggests that US President Woodrow Wilson became a victim of the third wave of the pandemic. He collapsed during peace talks at the conference of Versailles, suffering from a high fever, cough, and confusion, all symptoms consistent with influenza. Wilson had expressed a desire for a peace agreement that did not excessively punish the German people for their country’s actions during the war, and in earlier negotiations he had
Although the pandemic does not appear to have lingered in the collective consciousness, just like the war the resultant social changes would not be quick to fade away. Millions of volunteers had mobilized to care for the sick, putting their own lives at risk to deal with a national and international emergency. In Britain, the phlegmatic ‘keep calm and carry on’ spirit, later made famous by Second World War propaganda posters, was invoked as a duty by senior doctors with regards to the ‘flu’.82 However, it would be frivolous to suggest that any benefits in terms of community cohesion or stoicism could possibly outweigh the societal burden created by the loss of so many people in the middle generation, at a time when so many others had already been taken by the war.83 The pandemic cast a long shadow over the communities it touched for generations to come, even if its name was lost to memory.
The question of exactly how and why the ‘Spanish Flu’ came to be so neglected in the histories, narratives, and memories of the 20th century is an interesting one. From a medical point of view, there is no doubt that the sense of collective failure which was attached to the experience could have influenced many doctors to want to wash it from their minds. The triumphalism of the previous generation’s rapid progress in gaining ascendancy over hitherto ungovernable infectious diseases came down to earth with an ego-jolting thump when confronted by a worldwide plague, which the science of the time was powerless to either understand or treat. It was an aberration in
While the pandemic represented a defeat for medicine, both in terms of its public and self-image, it could be considered a relative success for the profession of nursing. The medical treatments and prophylaxis available were largely ineffective, and in fact some of them may have actively made the situation worse. The use of high doses of salicylates (aspirin) to control fevers has been suggested as a possible contributor to high mortality during the pandemic, as they are now known to have a detrimental effect on lung function when administered in large quantities.86 The only truly effective treatment was the old nursing standard of ‘tlc’ (tender loving care), which was administered in large measure by the millions of mostly-female volunteers who rallied to care for the sick across the world.87 Public recognition of the value and importance of nursing care, especially by those millions for whom it had been life-saving in the absence of effective medical interventions, was undoubtedly enhanced by the ‘Spanish Flu’ experience (Fig. 11.4).88 Although the pandemic was not explicitly mentioned in the relevant parliamentary discussions, it seems unlikely to be a coincidence that the first British legislation to create a professional framework for nurses was passed in November 1919.89
6 Communication and Conscience
Another long term effect of the pandemic was to shine a light on the subject of wartime propaganda: its uses and abuses. Even before the pandemic, the First World War was spawning hysterical ‘end times’ movements who saw signs of Armageddon in the unprecedented scale of the conflict. The advent of a mysterious plague sweeping across the world lent even greater fervour to these theological convulsions.90 These reactions emphasize the need for clear and open public communication during such crises in order to gain the public trust, to inform and reassure them as appropriate.91 At a time when the public communication tools of many governments were fully mobilized to the goal of providing deliberate misinformation in the service of the war effort – demonising the enemy and exaggerating military victories – this was always going to be a significant challenge. European newspapers were often forced by
Another still-relevant issue which the ‘Spanish Flu’ threw into sharp focus is the balance between protecting the health of the public and preserving the right of individual liberty. The enforcement of quarantine, isolation, or the wearing of protective clothing, while it may sometimes be necessary to prevent the spread of disease, is always likely to meet with resistance from people who lack the information, public-spiritedness or trust in government institutions to wish to comply. The San Francisco example of mandatory facemasks has already been mentioned, and there were demonstrations and arrests as a result.93 Even in wartime, when populations tend to be more willing to cede control to the government, authoritarian impositions (however well intentioned) can often cause resentment and widespread non-compliance.94 In attempting to control infectious disease outbreaks, public health professionals still have to balance the safety of the many against the rights and liberties of the few.95 The fact that those most severely affected by communicable disease outbreaks tend to come from the poorest sections of society – as also seems to have been true during the ‘Spanish Flu’ pandemic – while libertarian resistance is more characteristic of wealthier, less-affected populations, only complicates matters further.96
7 Why was the ‘Spanish Flu’ Forgotten?
The gradient of inequality in the impact of ‘Spanish Flu’ has been posited as a reason for the relative lack of attention that historians paid to it for most of the
For all of these reasons and more, the ‘Spanish Flu’ pandemic remained under-recognized and poorly studied by the medical and scientific community for much of the 20th century. Perhaps this is not surprising. It should be remembered that, although the First World War was, in many of its technologies and tactics, a ‘modern’ war, the medicine of the day was anything but. Doctors of 1914–18 were still operating, and certainly had mostly trained, in a transitional period before the full acceptance of Germ Theory.99 In 1890, during the Russian influenza pandemic, less than 30 years before the ‘Spanish Flu’ emerged, it was unremarkable for qualified doctors to write to The Lancet that “it must not be forgotten that many unusual earthquakes have occurred during the past year in Eastern Europe. Why should not this troublesome complaint have been produced by injurious emanations from the earth?”.100 The ‘Spanish Flu’ did little to settle the controversies that were then raging in medical and scientific fields, being enigmatic enough to function as something like a Rorschach Inkblot test, with almost everyone involved in such debates being able to discern support for their own position in its outlines. Arguments over influenza’s causal organism continued largely unaffected and uninformed by the catastrophe.101
However, some changes for the better were instituted by those who elected not to deposit the pandemic into the medical memory hole. Legislation
8 Does War Reduce Resilience?
Despite some positive longer-term outcomes from military interventions (which will be discussed below), war remains a huge challenge to both public health and civil resilience. The technological fruits of armed conflict generally benefit only military personnel during the conflict in which they are invented, and their subsequent usefulness in protecting the health of civilians is always vulnerable to negation by any subsequent war. If the Second World War gave us a mass-produced influenza vaccine then the Syrian Civil War (to take just one example) has prevented it from being used within that conflict zone, as it prevents virtually any systematic vaccination programme from taking place. Despite the massive amount of progress that has been made in the fight against
9 Does War Improve Resilience?
It was during the Second World War that serious attention began to be paid to the role of the First in causing the greatest pandemic of all time, perhaps for obvious reasons. There was suddenly a pressing need to learn from what was then described as “one of the darkest pages in our medical annals”,109 and to improve the effectiveness by which the military protected its personnel against infectious diseases, and thereby preserved their fighting strength.110 Hard lessons learned in military medical units during the First World War111 were applied and extrapolated, slowly during the interwar years and then rapidly during the Second World War.112 In 1943, an effective influenza vaccine was finally developed by the U.S. military,113 which enabled them to dramatically reduce the toll of morbidity and mortality among soldiers living in crowded barracks, which otherwise provide ideal conditions for the spread of respiratory infections.114
While warfare in the 20th century killed, disfigured, disabled, and psychologically scarred hundreds of millions of people, it has also been the driver for some of the most valuable medical advancements from which we in the 21st
With the passage of time helping to soothe the collective ego-bruising inflicted by the failures of 1918, the civilian scientific community has overcome their reticence to look too closely at the pandemic, and as a result has made some significant advances.120 Throughout the latter half of the 20th century there was a gradual increase in attention to the issue, and efforts made to understand the microbiological reasons for the pandemic’s deadliness when compared to seasonal influenza. Informed speculation about some sort of hyper-immune response being at the root of the atypical age-mortality curve (see Fig. 11.2), has gradually developed into the ‘cytokine storm’ theory.121 This concept suggests that an immunological over-reaction, not dissimilar to an anaphylactic allergic response, among those with more robust immune systems (that is, otherwise healthy 20–40 year olds) could possibly explain why those individuals died in higher numbers than the usual casualties of influenza: the very old and the very young.122 Debates are ongoing about whether the H1N1
10 How Would we Deal with a New Pandemic Today?
Human society’s resilience against a new pandemic, of the sort that the world experienced in 1918, has both increased and decreased. On the positive side, we are now protected by worldwide monitoring and response systems, superior treatment options and a far better understanding of disease processes than were available in the early 20th century. Newer and more effective influenza vaccines are continually being developed and tested.125 We have antibiotics, thanks in part to Fleming’s careless lab work in the early days of influenza research, which could currently126 cure many of the otherwise deadly secondary bacterial infections that caused much of the mortality in 1918–19. Policy frameworks such as ‘One World, One Health’127 stress international cooperation and data sharing,128 endorsing the words of the senior who official quoted as saying that “inadequate surveillance and response capacity in a single country can endanger national populations and public health security of the entire world”.129 We know far more than the valiant doctors and scientists who battled the ‘Spanish Flu’ pandemic, and no doubt would do a far better job of controlling another 1918-style pandemic, should it happen to reoccur.130
On the other hand, we are also vulnerable to the hazards inherent in a far smaller and much more interconnected world than the one in which the ‘Spanish Flu’ pandemic proliferated. Modern air travel would allow an infected
Resilience requires remembrance, even though remembrance is not always a pleasant or a comfortable task. The ‘Spanish Flu’ pandemic represented a huge defeat for science and medicine, and as such was consigned to a sort of collective cultural amnesia until the subject again became an urgent military necessity.133 The seeming fact that serious attention to what arguably ought to be the first priority of human civilisation, namely the health of the population, is so often contingent upon the scheduling of hugely destructive wars (and what this tells us about human nature) is probably a subject for another book. However, it is uncontroversial to say that we should attempt to learn from the lessons of history, so as not to repeat them, and this can only happen if the relevant history is remembered. The lessons of the ‘Spanish Flu’ pandemic were largely ignored for many decades, and, to the extent that serious public health concerns are frequently neglected at the expense of military objectives in modern war zones, they are still being ignored, with potentially catastrophic consequences. The Yale historian Timothy Snyder remarks that “History does
nhs England, “Pandemic influenza”: www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/pandemic-influenza-brief-apr16.pdf (accessed 31-8-2018); World Health Organisation, “The ten years of the Global Action Plan for influenza vaccines: report to the director-general from the gap advisory group”: www.who.int/influenza/GAP_AG_report_to_WHO_DG.pdf (accessed 17-1-2018).
Flecknoe, Wakefield, and Simmons, “Plagues and wars: the ‘Spanish Flu’ pandemic as a lesson from history”: doi.org/10.1080/13623699.2018.1472892 (accessed 31-8-2018).
Dobay, Gall, Rankin, and Bagheri, “Renaissance model of an epidemic with quarantine”, pp. 348–58; Gall, Lautenschlager, and Bagheri, “Quarantine as a public health measure against an emerging infectious disease: syphilis in Zurich at the dawn of the modern era [1496–1585]”, document 13.
Whittles and Didelot, “Epidemiological analysis of the Eyam plague outbreak of 1665–1666”: rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/royprsb/283/1830/20160618.full.pdf (accessed 23-8-2018).
Sihn, “Reorganizing hospital space: the 1894 plague epidemic in Hong Kong and the Germ Theory”, pp. 59–94.
Cox, “The First World War: disease, the only victor”, www.youtube.com/watch?v=x70gZjugLRM (accessed 13-12-2019).
Wever, Hodges, “The First World War years of Sydney Domville Rowland: an early case of possible laboratory-acquired meningococcal disease”, pp. 310–15.
Flamm, “The Austrian Red Cross and Austrian bacteriologists in the Balkan wars 1912/13 – centenary of the first application of bacteriology in theatres of war”, pp. 132–47; Wright and Baskin, “Pathology and laboratory medicine support", pp. 1161–172.
Such as the standardized use of anti-tetanus serums for the wounded, who were at significant risk of developing this frequently fatal disease due to the deep traumatic injuries that the newer battlefield weaponry of the First World War could inflict. Many lives were undoubtedly saved by this innovation: Wever and Van Bergen, “Prevention of tetanus during the First World War”, pp. 78–82.
Known at the time as ‘Pfeiffer’s bacillus’ after the scientist who first identified it. Bresalier, “’A most protean disease’: aligning medical knowledge of modern influenza, 1890–1914”, pp. 481–510.
[Anon.], “The epidemic of influenza in St. Petersburg” [letter]; Vallerona, Coria, Valtata, Meurissec, Carrata, and Boëlle, “Transmissibility and geographic spread of the 1889 influenza pandemic”, pp. 8778–781.
Shanks, “How World War 1 changed global attitudes to war and infectious diseases: legacy of the 1914–18 war”, pp. 1699–1707.
For this reason, the inaccurate but widely accepted term ‘Spanish Flu’ will be used in quotation marks throughout this chapter.
Witte, “The plague that was not allowed to happen: German medicine and the influenza epidemic of 1918–19 in Baden”; Flecknoe et al., “Plagues and wars”.
Oxford, Sefton, Jackson, Johnson, and Daniels, “Who’s that lady? An analysis of scientific and social literature suggests that army bases located in France and the UK may be responsible for the worldwide distribution of the ‘Spanish lady’ influenza pandemic of 1918”, pp. 1351–352.
Newsholme, “A discussion on influenza”, pp. 1–18; Jivraj and Butler, “The 1918–19 influenza pandemic revisited”, pp. 347–52.
Davis, Heginbottom, Annan et al., “Ground penetrating radar surveys to locate 1918 Spanish Flu victims in permafrost”, pp. 68–76; Steele and Collins, “La grippe and World War i: conflict participation and pandemic confrontation”, pp. 183–204; Morens, Taubenberger, Harvey, and Memoli, “The 1918 influenza pandemic: lessons for 2009 and the future”, e10–e20.
Crosby Jr, Epidemic and Peace, 1918; Oxford, Sefton, Jackson, Innes, Daniels, and Johnson, “World War i may have allowed the emergence of ‘Spanish’ influenza”, pp. 111–14.
Aligne, “Overcrowding and mortality during the influenza pandemic of 1918: evidence from US Army Camp A.A. Humphreys, Virginia”, pp. 642–44.
Phillips, Killingray, “Introduction”; Azizi, Jalali, and Azizi, “A history of the 1918 Spanish influenza pandemic and its impact on Iran”, pp. 262–68.
Summers, “Pandemic influenza outbreak on a troop ship – diary of a soldier in 1918”, pp. 1900–903.
Hunt, “Notes on the symptomatology and morbid anatomy of so-called ‘Spanish influenza’ with special reference to its diagnosis from other forms of ‘p.u.o’”., pp. 356–60; Shanks, “Insights from unusual aspects of the 1918 influenza pandemic”, pp. 217–22.
Crosby Jr, Epidemic and Peace; Honigsbaum, “Regulating the 1918–19 pandemic: flu, stoicism and the Northcliffe Press”, pp. 165–85.
The First World War has been succinctly described as a ‘chemists’ war’, because of the amount of novel chemical compounds (from medicines to weapons) that were used during it for the first time. In order for the ‘Spanish Flu’ to have been the deliberate weapon that some observers at the time suspected, it would have had to have been a microbiologists’ war as well, but the deliberate and scientific weaponization of that particular science was still (thankfully) some years away.
Shanks, “Formation of medical units in response to epidemics in the Australian imperial force in Palestine 1918”, pp. 14–9.
Palmer, Rice, “A Japanese physician’s response to pandemic influenza: Ijiro Gomibuchi and the ‘Spanish flu’ in Yaita-cho, 1918–1919”, pp. 560–77.
These observations lend credence to the assumption that at least the first and second waves of the “Spanish flu” were definitely caused by the same viral pathogen.
Crosby Jr, America’s Forgotten Pandemic: The Influenza of 1918; Oxford et al., “World War i may have allowed the emergence of ‘Spanish’ influenza”.
Dehner, Influenza. Pfeiffer’s bacillus, now known as ‘Haemophilus influenza’, is the bacterium sometimes thought to be the causal organism of influenza at the time because it was frequently present (as a secondary infection) in the lungs of autopsied influenza victims.
Kiss, “Contagious diseases in the Austro-Hungarian Army during the First World War”, pp. 197–203; Pages, Faulde, Orlandi-Pradines, and Parola, “The past and present threat of vector-borne diseases in deployed troops”, pp. 209–24.
Marc Ho, Jeff Hwang, Vernon Lee, “Emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases: challenges and opportunities for militaries”: mmrjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/2054-9369-1-21 (accessed 31-8-2018); Newman, Johnstone, Bridge et al., “Seroconversion for infectious pathogens among UK military personnel deployed to Afghanistan, 2008–2011”, pp. 2015–022.
Shanks, MacKenzie, Mclaughlin et al., “Mortality risk factors during the 1918–1919 influenza pandemic in the Australian army”, pp. 1880–889.
Dehner, Influenza; Wever and Van Bergen, “Death from 1918 pandemic influenza during the First World War: a perspective from personal and anecdotal evidence”, pp. 538–46.
Crosby Jr, Epidemic and Peace; Zabecki, The German 1918 Offensives. A Case Study in the Operational Level of War.
Zabecki, The German 1918 Offensives; Herwig, The First World War: Germany and Austria-Hungary 1914–1918.
Geroulanos, “Epidemics in antiquity”; Ratto-Kim, Yoon, Paris et al., “The US military commitment to vaccine development: a century of successes and challenges”: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6021486/ (accessed 31-8-2018).
Chowell, Viboud, Simonsen et al., “Mortality patterns associated with the 1918 influenza pandemic in Mexico: evidence for a spring herald wave and lack of pre-existing immunity in older populations”, pp. 567–75.
Barry, “How the horrific 1918 flu spread across America”: www.smithsonianmag.com/history/journal-plague-year-180965222/#jVOUoKVpWQwsH9QE.99 (accessed 27-12-2017).
Colonel Mark Sykes, one of the authors of the Sykes-Picot Agreement, died of the ‘Spanish Flu’ in early 1919 during the postwar peace negotiations. However, the impact of his death on the modern Middle East, which the agreement played a major part in shaping, is much harder to estimate: Barr, A Line in the Sand: Britain, France, and the Struggle that Shaped the Middle East.
Byerly, Fever of War: The Influenza Epidemic in the U.S. Army during World War i; Shanks, “How World War i changed global attitudes”.
Starko, “Salicylates and pandemic influenza mortality, 1918–1919 pharmacology, pathology, and historic evidence”, pp. 1405–410.
Crosby Jr, Epidemic and Peace; Bristow, “‘You can’t do anything for influenza’: doctors, nurses and the power of gender during the influenza pandemic in the United States”, pp. 58–69.
Hansard, “Nurses registration (No. 2) Bill. 18th November 1919, vol. 121 cc864-80”: api.parliament.uk/historic-hansard/commons/1919/nov/18/nurses-registration-no-2-bill (accessed 27-8-2018).
Phillips and Killingray, “Introduction”; Stuckert, “Strategic implications of American millennialism”: www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a485511.pdf (accessed 25-8-2018).
Reynolds, Crouse, “Effective communication during an influenza pandemic: the value of using a crisis and emergency risk communication framework”, pp. 13s–17s.
Honigsbaum, “Regulating the 1918–19 pandemic”; Tognotti, “Lessons from the history of quarantine, from plague to influenza A”, pp. 254–59.
Crosby Jr, Epidemic and Peace; Palmer and Rice, “A Japanese physician’s response to pandemic influenza”.
Selgelid, McLean, Arinaminpathy, and Savulescu, “Infectious disease ethics: limiting liberty in contexts of contagion”, pp. 149–52.
Johnson and Mueller, “Updating the accounts: global mortality of the 1918–1920 ‘Spanish’ influenza pandemic”, pp. 105–15.
Fleming, “On the antibacterial action of cultures of a Penicillium, with special reference to their use in the isolation of B. influenza”: www.asm.org/ccLibraryFiles/Filename/0000000264/1929p185.pdf (accessed 1-9-2018).
Ferdinand Foch, the Supreme Allied Commander on the Western Front is said to have remarked at the signing of the Treaty of Versailles: “This is not a peace. It is an armistice for twenty years”. Although his specific complaints were that the treaty was too lenient on Germany, rather than too harsh, he was prophetic nonetheless, and the Second World War started almost exactly twenty years later.
Hirschfeld, “Failing states as epidemiologic risk zones: implications for global health security”, pp. 288–95; Flecknoe et al., “Plagues and wars”.
Bailey, “A brief history of British military experiences with infectious and tropical diseases”, pp. 150–57; Wright and Baskin, “Pathology and laboratory medicine support”.
Van Bergen, “Surgery and war: the discussion about the usefulness of war for medical progress”, pp. 389–407.
Bailey, “A brief history of British military experiences”; Shanks, “How World War 1 changed global attitudes”.
Meers, “The cause of death in the influenza pandemic of 1918–1919: an hypothesis”, pp. 143–48; Morens et al., “The 1918 influenza pandemic”.
The unkind postwar perception that only ‘weaklings’ died of influenza, is the exact opposite of the truth in this case: Wever and Van Bergen, “Death from 1918 pandemic influenza”.
Andersohn, Bornemann, Damm et al., “Vaccination of children with a live-attenuated, intranasal influenza vaccine – analysis and evaluation through a Health Technology Assessment”: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4219018/ (accessed 31-8-2018).
Although the growth of antimicrobial resistance threatens to return us to the pre-antibiotic era.
Chien, “How did international agencies perceive the avian influenza problem? The adoption and manufacture of the ‘One World, One Health’ framework”, pp. 213–26.
Thereby implicitly recognising the destructive role that armed conflict can exert on pandemic disease control.
Brownstein, Freifeld, Chan et al., “Information technology and global surveillance of cases of 2009 H1N1 influenza”, pp. 1731–735.
Dawood, Iuliano, Reed et al., “Estimated global mortality associated with the first 12 months of 2009 pandemic influenza A H1N1 virus circulation: a modelling study”, pp. 687–95.