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1918 pandemic Fiji

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  • 1918 pandemic Fiji

    1918 pandemic in Fiji (small island developing states)

    The 1920 British report on the pandemic is well-worth reading, as mentioned previously in this post, Alaska and Eskimo data in 1920 British report It’s interesting to me that Alaska’s p…



    page 358 F I J I .
    "In a report dated the 18th January 1919, the Chief Medical Officer of Fiji states that it is a matter of uncertainty, or even impossibility, to define the manner in which the epidemic of influenza first gained admission to the Colony, especially in view that (I) there was undoubtedly influenza (which in some cases was of a severe type and complicated by pneumonia) in widely separated districts of Fiji for some months before the epidemic ; (2) all incoming vessels arrived with clean bills of health until the disease was raging all through the Colony,"

    page 359 "In Suva there were some cases of influenza of moderate severity during October, and reports were received of localised outbreaks in Taveuni, Labasa, Navua, and Kadavu, but the main epidemic in Fiji burst out about the middle of November."

    The earliest fatal cases in Suva occurred on 17th November, and thereafter the reports of burials for influenza fatalities on certain dates were as follows : [tables]

    It was not found possible to keep records of the number of persons attacked, but the Chief Medical Officer considered that it would not be an exaggerated estimate to say that 85 to 90 per cent of the whole population of Suva and district were affected at some time or another during the course of the epidemic?.

    The decline of the epidemic was said to be rapid from the middle of December. By the 24th of that month all four temporary hospitals which had been established in Suva were

    page 360 closed, "and after the 28 th no more notifications of genuine cases were received.

    Measures.? Owing to the absence of many officers on War service, to local shipping difficulties, and to the dislocation of the steamship service from Australia and New Zealand, the Colony was ill-prepared to deal with so serious an epidemic.

    In November the disease was made notifiable under the Public Health Ordinance of 1911, and circulars were sent to all medical officers, native medical practitioners, and native officials, calling attention to the epidemic, suggesting methods of treatment, advising that food be stored in all villages, and authorising the use of plantation hospitals for the treatment of cases. Temporary hospitals were equipped and maintained in Suva, Levuka, and other centres. Depots were also established from which soup, arrowroot, sago, and other food and medical comforts were distributed to the homes of natives who were too ill to help themselves. In this work the medical officers and other officials in the Colony were assisted by a large number of voluntary workers. A relief party of 4 medical officers, 1 lady doctor, 4 nurses, 3 senior students, and 24 orderlies was sent by the New Zealand Government to assist in dealing with the epidemic, and arrived at Suva on the 17th December. The complete cessation of steamship communication with Sydney prevented the arrival of a relief party which had been asked for from Australia, but the services of two medical officers and some medical orderlies, who were members of the relief party sent by Australia to deal with the epidemic in Samoa, were obtained."

    The expenditure incurred in relief measures in connection with the epidemic was estimated to be approximately 10,000?.

  • #2
    Re: 1918 pandemic in Polynesia and Fiji (small island developing states)

    .....estimate to say that 85 to 90 per cent of the whole population of Suva and district were affected.....
    Given the above high estimated attack rate, is there any information on the actual CFR?

    I assume the attack rate was due to an immunologically naive population, but might that also impact the CFR?

    I wonder if there are any immunologically naive populations left today?

    "The next major advancement in the health of American people will be determined by what the individual is willing to do for himself"-- John Knowles, Former President of the Rockefeller Foundation


    • #3
      Re: 1918 pandemic Fiji

      Thanks to Crof

      Horrors of the last one

      Wednesday, December 05, 2007

      DURING the last pandemic to hit Fiji an outbreak of the Spanish Flu in 1918 the state was forced to assemble mobile soup kitchens at the doorsteps of infected families, says a pandemic specialist.

      Dr Narendra Singh pandemic preparedness and training specialist with the Secretariat of the Pacific Community said within three weeks of the Spanish Flu outbreak, 85 to 95 per cent of Suva's population was affected. "Medical services were overwhelmed and the Colonial War Memorial Hospital was filled with so many cases that staff abandoned recording all but one nurse who was more or less severely infected," he said.

      "Students of the then medical school were brought in to reinforce the depleting force left to look after the sick." Fiji, he said, begged Australia for medical reinforcements but the Australian contingent to Fiji was stopped from leaving. Soup kitchens were set up to help infected families who could not care for themselves.