Free Republic
Browse · Search
Bloggers & Personal
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Diary From The HMNZ Tahiti During The 1918 Pandemic
Avian Flu Diary ^ | OCTOBER 08, 2012 | Michael Coston

Posted on 10/08/2012 12:00:43 PM PDT by neverdem

For years historians, epidemiologists, and virologists have been attempting to peel back the cobwebs of time in order to analyze the deadliest pandemic in human history; the 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic.

John Barry’s The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Greatest Plague in History, has probably done more to reawaken memories of that awful time than any other source, but many gaps in our knowledge remain.

Jeffrey K. Taubenberger and David Morens - both researchers at NIAID – have added considerably to our understanding of the H1N1 virus and the events surrounding its emergence. Taubenberger was the first to sequence the the genome of the 1918 Spanish Flu virus while David Morens is a prominent medical historian.

See Morens & Taubenberger on Influenza’s History for a fascinating look back at influenza through the ages. Highly recommended.

Spanish Flu broke out in the spring and summer of 1918, while WWI was still underway. It so devastated troops on both sides of the conflict that historians believed it helped to hasten the end of the war.

Soldiers and sailors – living in cramped and often unhygienic quarters – bore the early brunt of the pandemic, while troop trains and ships helped to spread it around the globe.

While there are many horrific accounts from the pandemic – including some small villages in Alaska entirely wiped out – some of the best documented events occurred onboard troop ships.

One of the most famous was the HMNZ Troop Carrier Tahiti, which during August-September of 1918 carried 1217 troops and crew (almost double what the ship was rated to carry) from New Zealand to Plymouth, England with provisioning stops at Cape Town and Sierra Leone...

(Excerpt) Read more at afludiary.blogspot.com ...


TOPICS: Health/Medicine; History; Military/Veterans; Science
KEYWORDS: 1918; 1918pandemic; disease; epidemics; flu; fourthievesoil; godsgravesglyphs; microbiology; pandemics; pathologies; pathology; plagues; thesniffles; thievesoil; virology

1 posted on 10/08/2012 12:00:51 PM PDT by neverdem
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: Mother Abigail; EBH; vetvetdoug; Smokin' Joe; Global2010; Battle Axe; null and void; ...
FReepmail me if you want on or off my combined microbiology/immunology ping list.
2 posted on 10/08/2012 12:05:52 PM PDT by neverdem ( Xin loi min oi)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: neverdem
I recently went through my old family cemetary. It was...I don't know the word...shocking? gruesome? ... to see entire families wiped out in a matter of a few days. There were a good handful of instances in that one cemetary.

These were pre- Spanish Flu, most of the dates were in the early to mid 1800's. I'd guess smallpox or cholera, but that's just a guess.

3 posted on 10/08/2012 12:06:47 PM PDT by wbill
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: neverdem

Greatest plague in history?

Worse than the Black Death (Bubonic plague epidemic)?

Perhaps in absolute numbers of victims, but probably not in the proportion of the population killed.


4 posted on 10/08/2012 12:14:37 PM PDT by DuncanWaring (The Lord uses the good ones; the bad ones use the Lord.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: wbill

I have an uncle who was doing our family genealogy and we went to a cemetery to find a grave for a relative who died at the time of the Spanish flu. They couldn’t give us an exact location, just a general spot in the cemetery. Turns out, in that area, there were no markers, because they were mass graves for the influenza victims.


5 posted on 10/08/2012 12:33:21 PM PDT by Boogieman
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: DuncanWaring

The lethality was pretty high, but not as deadly as some other diseases in terms of most locations. I think what made it so bad was it was probably first pathogen that could spread worldwide so quickly due to air travel, automobiles, faster ships, etc. By the time one population had started developing any resistance, it had already spread to ten more areas.


6 posted on 10/08/2012 12:36:26 PM PDT by Boogieman
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: neverdem

Remembering Great Aunt Martha Pfautz Mohn, died age 21,1918


7 posted on 10/08/2012 12:38:17 PM PDT by Chainmail (A simple rule of life: if you can be blamed, you're responsible.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Bigg Red

mark


8 posted on 10/08/2012 12:44:29 PM PDT by Bigg Red (Pray for our republic.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DuncanWaring

Don’t know if the Thieves story from the bubonic plague days is for real but I use a version of The Four Thieves oil


9 posted on 10/08/2012 12:57:16 PM PDT by RummyChick
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: wbill

I have a letter from a relative who was dying of cholera during the Civil War. She wrote about other family members who had succumbed. Very sad.


10 posted on 10/08/2012 1:14:41 PM PDT by bgill
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: neverdem
I read the book mentioned in the article as well as "FLU" by Gina Kolata a few years ago. If I remember correctly, it's hard to find detailed personal accounts of the pandemic because it was so devastating to those involved that reliving it by writing about it was too horrible for many.
My mom was a baby at the time and I believe that my grandfather got sick and was unable to preach for a couple of Sundays. She said it was about the only time he missed "work" in his over 60 years of preaching.
11 posted on 10/08/2012 1:18:51 PM PDT by stayathomemom (Beware of kittens modifying your posts.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: stayathomemom
My mom was a baby at the time and I believe that my grandfather got sick and was unable to preach for a couple of Sundays.

My father was born in 15. He had 9 siblings. My mother was born in 17. She had 8 siblings. Each family lost 1 or 2 kids in childhood. I wonder if that flu took any of them.

12 posted on 10/08/2012 8:00:45 PM PDT by neverdem ( Xin loi min oi)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: neverdem

Perhaps, although as I recall, the hardest hit demographic were young adults with strong immune systems. I just checked the wiki article about it: “Modern analysis has shown the virus to be particularly deadly because it triggers a cytokine storm, which ravages the stronger immune system of young adults.”


13 posted on 10/08/2012 8:42:00 PM PDT by stayathomemom (Beware of kittens modifying your posts.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: 2ndreconmarine; Fitzcarraldo; Covenantor; Mother Abigail; EBH; Dog Gone; ...
Ping... some links of interest at the link as well.

(Thanks, neverdem!)

14 posted on 10/09/2012 12:32:05 PM PDT by Smokin' Joe (How often God must weep at humans' folly. Stand fast. God knows what He is doing)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: neverdem

 GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother & Ernest_at_the_Beach
Thanks neverdem.

Just adding to the catalog, not sending a general distribution.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.


15 posted on 10/09/2012 3:34:43 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: stayathomemom

In the 1970s, I talked with some who had been children in the time of the Spanish flu, and they all had pretty deep mental blocks about it. After the flu, it was a forbidden topic of conversation, as everyone had suffered, and the dead often became non-persons, remembered only in family Bibles.

One man had a particularly bad memory. His family’s house was on the route to the cemetery. Being kept inside for much of six months, from his second story window, he watched the coffins go by. Particularly troubling was the small coffins of children, making him wonder which of his peers had died.

Importantly, because epidemics were very common, doctors carried quarantine signs in their bags. Families of means had a special small room as a “sick room”, so sick family members could be isolated. Such a room generally had an outside door, so things could be taken in our out without flooding the house with bad air.

Only recently it has been established that open windows are superior to even filtered a/c, because they cycle out the bad air faster, reducing airborne contamination inside.

Physicians of the time used phenols and carbolic soap as effective antibiotics.

Importantly, at the time of the Spanish flu, viruses were known to exist, but only as infectious organisms too small to be seen by a microscope. Bacteriophage viruses, viruses that attack bacteria, were also known to exist. Filters too small for bacteria had been developed, as well as a means to calculate viral concentration.

One of the worst problems of the time was the extensive public ignorance of good hygiene. This remained the case until the government began an permanent program to educate the public during WWII. During the Spanish flu, the public were desperate for even rumors of what might help.


16 posted on 10/09/2012 5:36:49 PM PDT by yefragetuwrabrumuy (DIY Bumper Sticker: "THREE TIMES,/ DEMOCRATS/ REJECTED GOD")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: Smokin' Joe

Thanks for the ping!


17 posted on 10/09/2012 9:28:28 PM PDT by Alamo-Girl
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: Alamo-Girl

You’re Welcome, Alamo-Girl!


18 posted on 10/10/2012 1:06:51 AM PDT by Smokin' Joe (How often God must weep at humans' folly. Stand fast. God knows what He is doing)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: neverdem

Last year, I was helping a friend’s folks move into a new house. We found a stack of old postcards from 1918. In the cards, there were a large number of death notices from the flu.

One of the great uncles had both of his girlfriends die from it. He never married. Many lost at least one family member.


19 posted on 10/10/2012 5:31:12 AM PDT by redgolum ("God is dead" -- Nietzsche. "Nietzsche is dead" -- God.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: neverdem

Last year, I was helping a friend’s folks move into a new house. We found a stack of old postcards from 1918. In the cards, there were a large number of death notices from the flu.

One of the great uncles had both of his girlfriends die from it. He never married. Many lost at least one family member.


20 posted on 10/10/2012 5:31:28 AM PDT by redgolum ("God is dead" -- Nietzsche. "Nietzsche is dead" -- God.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Bloggers & Personal
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson