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Epidemiological isolation causing variable mortality in Island populations during the 1918-1920 influenza pandemic.

Authors
  • Shanks, G Dennis
  • Hussell, Tracy
  • Brundage, John F
Type
Published Article
Journal
Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses
Publisher
Wiley (Blackwell Publishing)
Publication Date
Nov 01, 2012
Volume
6
Issue
6
Pages
417–423
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1111/j.1750-2659.2011.00332.x
PMID: 22226378
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

Mortality differed more than 50-fold during pandemic-related epidemics on Pacific islands [range: 0.4% (Hawaii) to 22% (Samoa)], and on some islands, mortality sharply varied among demographic subgroups of island residents such as Saipan: Chamorros [12%] and Caroline Islanders [0.4%]. Among soldiers from island populations who had completed initial military training, influenza-related mortality rates were generally low, for example, Puerto Rico (0.7%) and French Polynesia (0.13%). The findings suggest that among island residents, those who had been exposed to multiple, antigenically diverse respiratory pathogens prior to infection with the 1918 pandemic strain (e.g., less isolated) experienced lower mortality. The continuous circulation of antigenically diverse influenza viruses and other respiratory infectious agents makes widespread high mortality during future influenza pandemics unlikely.

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