Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Talk on Gibraltar 1918 Flu Epidemic

The Gibraltar Museum has announced the third in its programme of heritage talks for 2005.

Professor Larry Sawchuk“The 1918 Flu in Gibraltar: Can we learn anything from the past about the next influenza pandemic?” by Professor Larry Sawchuk, will take place on Thursday May 26th at 20.30 hours at the John Mackintosh Hall.

A museum spokesman said:

“In 1918, Gibraltar was struck by a series of influenza epidemics.

The first epidemic was relatively mild and raised little alarm.

In the late summer, a much more virulent strain of the virus struck the Rock. Over 3000 inhabitants suffered flu symptoms and life expectancy at birth for both males and females fell by at least six years.

While influenza mortality was modest, overall mortality increased dramatically particularly among males aged twenty to thirty nine.

Furthermore, areas in the town proper with high levels of household crowding demonstrated strong positive association with increased overall mortality relative to the post-epidemic period.

To further the study the Gibraltar epidemics of influenza over a thirty year period is also compared to the experience both in Spain and Malta.

The talk will conclude with some thoughts regarding the next deadly global epidemic of influenza that, according to Professor Sawchuk, will likely emerge this century.

Larry Sawchuk is an Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology and Health Studies at the University of Toronto, Canada. He has published a number of scientific articles on the people of Gibraltar and a book dealing with a series of epidemics of cholera and more recently, a book on yellow fever in Gibraltar co-authored with Dr Sam Benady.

He first visited Gibraltar in 1974 and considers the Rock to be his second home and regards many Gibraltarians among his dearest friends.”

The lectures in the series are open to all who wish to attend and are free of charge.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was caused by World war one. The devastation of world war one weakened populations around the world. On top of poverty of course this then helped spread the disease via movement's of soldier's and shipping.

6:26 pm  

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