No announcement yet.

The Great Epizootic of 1872

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • The Great Epizootic of 1872

    from wikipedia:

    "The Great Epizootic of 1872" was an 1872 outbreak of equine influenza in North America that brought the entire US economy to a virtual standstill, precipitated the Panic of 1873, and was the "most destructive recorded episode of equine influenza in history". "It was an equine tragedy so deadly that one wave of the infection swept south like a Biblical plague from its origin in Toronto, Canada, down the Atlantic Seaboard to Havana, Cuba, leaving everything in its path in ruins in weeks, while another branch simultaneously raced west to the Pacific."[5] The number of sick horses approached 100% and mortality rates ranged between 1% and 10%. Many horses were unable to stand in their stalls and those who could stand coughed violently and were too weak to pull loads. The whole street railway industry ground to a halt. Every aspect of American transportation was affected. Locomotives came to a halt as coal could not be delivered to power them while fires in many major cities raged unchecked. One fire in Boston destroyed over 700 buildings. Even the United States Army Cavalry was reduced to fighting the Apaches on foot, who likewise found their mounts too sick to do battle. The outbreak forced men to pull wagons by hand, while trains and ships full of cargo sat unloaded, tram cars stood idle and deliveries of basic community essentials were no longer being made. The effect this disease had on the US economy should not be understated. The Long Riders' Guild Academic Foundation founder CuChullaine O'Reilly "said the Great Epizootic was the worst equestrian catastrophe in the history of the United States - and perhaps the world."[6]
    I'm interested in expert panflu damage estimates
    my current links: ILI-charts:

  • #2
    Re: The Great Epizootic of 1872

    Sept. In New York and Philadelphia men were seen harnessed to carts and trolleys, pulling them along streets. In Boston a great fire wiped out the downtown area with a loss of over $80 million. In cities across the country, homes went without heat, garbage went uncollected...public transportation ceased, deliveries halted...stores closed, unemployment soared..

    The Great Epizootic of 1872 had struck and America was without the power it needed to function--most power at the time being horse power.

    An epizootic is a disease prevalent in one kind of animal and in this case an unknown equine virus had been imported via Canada. The disease hit in epidemic proportions, claiming almost a quarter of the nation's horses--some 4 million in all before it ran its course. As a result, America suffered a shock that helped bring on the Panic of 1873.

    From the time the Great Epizootic struck in late September until the day the last horse died, 19th-century medical science was unable to provide veterinarians with any method to stem the disease. The doctors were powerless against the deadly virus which strangely enough, seemed to strike hardest at horses stabled in the urban areas. Within a month, 200 horses a day were dying in New York City, and metropolitan newspapers devoted their front pages to the Great Epizootic. New York was virtually shut down, transportation and deliveries almost at a standstill, unemployed transit workers pulling trolleys down the street. Belmont Park and other racetracks closed their gates, and one great American thoroughbred, Pocahontas, fell to the disease.

    In Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse, the situation was just as bad and soon outbreaks were reported in southern cities, including New Orleans, Atlanta, and Savannah. Some southern cities escaped without much damage, but in Washington, D.C., all mail service had to be discontinued and street railways were closed down.

    Yet in no city were the results worse than in Boston. On November 9, a fire broke out in the downtown section and few horses were available to move fire-fighting equipment to the scene, over 2/3 of them being dead or incapacitated by the disease. Oxen were used in place of horses and the 1st steam-powered fire engine was tried in this fire, but they were employed too late to be of any real use. The fire had a good start and raged for 3 days, resulting in the destruction of 600 buildings, property damage of more than $75 million.

    The Boston fire scared people, and scientists were urged to work even harder to find the cause of the Great Epizootic. But the virus was never isolated. The disease continued taking its toll until well into December, when really cold weather set in and suddenly ended its ravages. Only later did scientists learn that cold weather had killed the mosquitos that transmitted the deadly virus.
    The salvage of human life ought to be placed above barter and exchange ~ Louis Harris, 1918


    • #3
      Re: The Great Epizootic of 1872



      Equine influenza, a highly contagious and potentially devastating horse infection,
      was a particular threat when large numbers of animals were suddenly brought
      together, especially within poor sanitary surroundings. The virus was found in the
      nasal mucus of infected horses and was easily transferable through coughing and
      contaminated food and water.

      Infected animals suffered from nasal discharge, raised temperature,
      coughing, caused by the inflammation of the upper and lower respiratory passages.

      Influenza even led to cardiac complications, pneumonia, laminitis43 and most
      commonly, chronic bronchitis, which resisted all treatment.44 Influenza was likely
      to affect over-worked or ill-conditioned horses and the risk of infection was
      heightened by unhygienic conditions in damp, draughty or dusty stables and
      transport vehicles.

      Outbreaks of influenza were devastating to mounted forces in both
      campaigns. An Australian and New Zealand contingent in Klerksdorp, South
      Africa, numbering 2,500 horses, had 90% fall ill to influenza in 1902.45 While the
      New Zealand Brigade was in camp at Zeitoun in January 1915, an epidemic of
      influenza raged for six weeks with horrific results. Of the 5,000 horses en-camped,
      almost all of them were affected and 75% died.46

      Effective treatment for equine influenza required immediate rest for at
      least fourteen days and care was to be taken to ensure a hygienic environment.
      Animals were kept warm and well nursed, rugged if necessary, legs bandaged and
      fresh drinking water was essential.47 The absence of any such contingencies and
      the subsequent premature return to work was invariably followed by costly
      complications and continued condition loss.
      I'm interested in expert panflu damage estimates
      my current links: ILI-charts:


      • #4
        Re: The Great Epizootic of 1872

        equine influenza transmitted by mosquitoes ???
        is it confirmed elsewhere ?

        no mentioning of mosquitoes here:

        The 1872 epizootic.
        J H Coady
        00031488J Am Vet Med Assoc. 1977 Apr 1;170 (7):668
        I'm interested in expert panflu damage estimates
        my current links: ILI-charts:


        • #5
          Re: The Great Epizootic of 1872

          No mention in other articles I've read about EI being caused by mosquitoes. I wonder if it really was influenza? There are several other horse diseases transmitted by mosquitoes such as West Nile Virus and 3 strains of encephalitis (eastern, western and venezuelan).

          Interesting that the article mentions high fatality rates, laminitis and bandaging legs. None of those things are typical with AI, to my knowledge.

          From what I'm finding, AI is very much like our influenza in spread. Quarantine works well; maybe a lesson to be learned for our future pandemic. Usually, we just vax against it and don't worry about it too much.
          The salvage of human life ought to be placed above barter and exchange ~ Louis Harris, 1918


          • #6
            Re: The Great Epizootic of 1872

            When I think nasal discharge in horses the first thing that comes to mind is rhinovirus. I had a horse that got it. Poor thing was pretty pathetic with LOTS of green running "nasal discharge".

            We were put on this earth to help and take care of one another.


            • #7
              Re: The Great Epizootic of 1872

              I remember having read that in the 19th century there were reports,
              that human and equine influenza epidemics often occurred simultaneously
              and it was suspected that they got the same virus.

              Nowadays human and equine viruses are usually different.

              so is swine flu but some other flu-viruses are transmitted human<-->swine

              The 1989 pandemic was supposed to have been H3N8.
              The typical equine virus is also H3N8
              I'm interested in expert panflu damage estimates
              my current links: ILI-charts:


              • #8
                Re: The Great Epizootic of 1872

                Back in 1872 there were a lot of horses and people living in very close proximity in large cities under less than what are considered sanitary conditions today. There were probably a lot more horses per capita than today. Horses back then were often considered more of a tool, means of transportation, and source of income than a pampered pet. Thousands of horses died in the rebuilding of San Francisco after the 1906 earthquake. Their deaths were just a cost of doing business at the time. There may have been much more opportunity for horse and human viruses to mix back then than there are today.

                Before 1903 herds of pigs were used as street cleaners in New York. Streets were truly filthy with accumulated human and animal waste, garbage and the occasional worked to death horse carcass. Wonder, if it was influenza that caused the die off in horses, if it may have first mutated in pigs?

                We were put on this earth to help and take care of one another.


                • #9
                  Re: The Great Epizootic of 1872

                  no reports about swine-flu prior to 1918 AFAIK

                  there is some vague speculation that Columbus brough flu to America
                  through swine
                  I'm interested in expert panflu damage estimates
                  my current links: ILI-charts:


                  • #10
                    Re: The Great Epizootic of 1872

                    hey, I just found this:


                    not conferring immunity from a second attack in subsequent epizootics.

                    The frequent co-existence of an epizootic catarrh in man and the horse

                    In 1776...influenza spread over Europe.
                    horses and dogs suffered before it attacked humans
                    Huzzard speaks of the horses suffering last
                    Poultry died in great numbers from an epizootic with defluxions from the eyes

                    1833 ... and even cats

                    in 1847 epidemic in humans and horses

                    Between 415 and 412 before Christ, Hippocrates and Livius report the extraordinary prevalence of catarrhal maladies in Greece and Rome, which Schuurrer and H&#230;ser suppose to have been influenza. Diodorus Siculus reports an epidemic, apparently of the same kind, in the Athenian army in Sicily in 415. Absyrtus, a Greek veterinarian, writing about A. D. 330, describes a disease in the horse having the general characters of influenza. This appears to be the earliest record of such an affection in the lower animals, yet the reports of epidemics at an earlier date almost necessarily imply the existence of the equine malady. Passing over a number of epidemics, we come to the next recorded equine influenza in A.D. 1299. In this year a catarrhal epidemic spread widely in Europe, (Parkes.) The equine disease is thus described by Laurentius Rusius, as it prevailed at Seville: “The horse carried his head drooping, would eat nothing, ran from the eyes, and there was hurried beating of the flanks. The malady was epidemic, and in that year one thousand horses died.”
                    Six epidemics of influenza are recorded in the fourteenth century, but among animals nothing more than an epizootic quinsy at Rome, from which Rusius, who reports it, lost fifty horses.
                    We have no distinct evidence of influenza in animals in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, though in 1510 and 1580-’81, during the prevalence of cattarrhal epidemics in Europe, animals suffered severely, from what disease is not stated, (Saliua Diversus, Thomas Short.) Solleysel describes an epizootic among the horses of the French army, operating in Germany in 1648, which closely agrees with influenza. It began by fever, great prostration, tears running from the eyes, and a profuse greenish mucous discharge from the nostrils. The appetite was lost and ears cold. Few recovered. This appears to have closely followed the epidemic influenza of 1647, mentioned by Hensinger. In 1688 influenza was epidemic over the whole of Europe, spreading from east to west. In England and Ireland it was immediately preceded by a nasal catarrh, from which horses universally suffered, (Short, Rutty.) In 1693 it again prevailed over the whole of Europe and the British Isles, attacking first horses, and then, after a short time, men, (Webster, Short, Forster.). In 1698, during an epidemic catarrh in France, cattle and horses suffered from what was described as a bilious plague, (Bascom.) The year following influenza prevailed among horses in France, and severely among men and horses in England, (Webster.) In America in the same year horses were first attacked, and afterward men, (Forster.)
                    The year 1707, remarkable for an eruption of Vesuvius and the upheaval of a new island in the &#198;gean Sea, witnessed an epidemic catarrh in Franconia, (Steurlius,) and in England, where horses also suffered, (Short.) A similar eruption, with earthquakes, in 1712, coincided with an epidemic and above all an equine influenza, (Laucisi, Kanold.) In the winter of 1727-’28, horses in Great Britain suffered from epidemic catarrh; in Ireland it attacked man a little later, (Rutty.).
                    In 1732, seven earthquakes occurred in China, followed by pestilential diseases in man and malignant carbuncular diseases in animals. A little later influenza spread over Europe and America from east to west, (Glugo.) Arbuthnot and others who described it in England remarked upon the sulphurous vapors pervading the atmosphere, and that men and horses were attacked successively. Gibson, who furnishes a full description of the affection in the horse, says that it attacked mainly young or ill conditioned animals, and did not prove fatal. In 1736 and 1737 it again prevailed in England, attacking men and horses. Short, who records this, mentions an eruption of Vesuvius in the latter year. In 1740, 1742, and 1743 violent sore throats prevailed in man, horse, and ox, (Huxham, Rutty, Faulkener but whether due to influenza is not plain. In 1746 and 1750-’51 catarrh was epizootic among horses in Ireland, (Rutty, Osmer in 1758 in Scotland and England, attacking man as well, (Whytt, Bascom in 1760, after an eruption of Vesuvius, influenza appeared in Great Britain, Ireland, and elsewhere in Europe, attacking first horses, then men, (Bisset, Rutty.) In 1760 it is reported as in Denmark, attacking horses and dogs; and in 1762 in France, Ireland, and other parts of Europe, among horses and men, (Rutty, Bottain.)
                    In 1767 it prevailed in Europe, and above all in England, where it attacked first dogs and horses, then men, (Forster, Iteunsen also in America among horses. It carried off almost all the young horses and colts in New Jersey, and was very ruinous in New England, (Webster.)
                    In 1776, after a very severe winter and warm summer, with an earthquake in Wales, influenza spread over Europe. Fothergill, Cumming, Glass, Haggarth, and Pultney, in England, and Lorry, in France, noticed that horses and dogs suffered before it attacked human beings. Huzzard speaks of the horses suffering last. Poultry died in great numbers from an epizootic with defluxions from the eyes. In 1780, after eruptions of Vesuvius and Etna, and a terrible earthquake in Taurus, influenza appeared among horses. Huzzard describes it as seen at Paris. Gluge and Hensinger say that it broke out epidemically in September, 1780, in China, and, spreading over Asia, reached Moscow in December, 1781, gained Revel and Western Prussia in February, 1782, and Spain and Italy in August and September. Forster says it prevailed in America in the spring of 1781, and the following year in Europe. Haveman records an equine influenza at the same time in Germany, and Abilgaard leaves a monograph on the disease as it prevailed in the royal stud at Copenhagen. This year was rigorously cold all over Europe. In 1798 influenza again prevailed among horses in England, (Wilkinson, White.)
                    In 1800 influenza was said to have prevailed at Whampon, in China, whence it was believed to extend over Asia, reaching Europe in 1802 and England in January, 1803, (Gluge.) Though in some places man alone appears to have suffered, in others horses fell victims as well, (Hensinger.) In 1814 this affection prevailed in horses in Switzerland, (Hensinger,) and 1815, in a malignant form, in England, (Wilkinson, Youatt.) It appeared again in an epizootic form in England in 1819, 1823, (Field,) and 1828, (Brown.)
                    In 1833 it extended over Europe from east to west, attacking men, horses, dogs, and even cats. It prevailed in Courland from January to March, (Possart in Pomerania and Saxony in April, (Rhodes, Prinz and in France in May, (Compte Rendu de l’Ecole, Vet. d’Alfort.) In England Mr. Hayes describes it as lasting from October, 1832, to March, 1833. It was a “catarrhal fever, joined with inflammation of the lungs and liver and trachea and œsophagus and larynx and pharynx, and the mucous lining membrane of the bowels, frequently with all the symptoms of malignant catarrh, and these in an aggravated form. In some cases there was excessive diarrhœa, the f&#230;ces were black liquid mucus, bloody and exceedingly fetid, and accompanied by such extreme debility that the animal could not move without falling; there was quick pulse, injected nose, mouth and gums as red and dry as possible, and resembling a piece of lean dry beef. In some there was excessive anasarca; in others phlegmonous tumors in different parts of the body; in others again there were spasmodic jerkings and lameness in the legs, shoulders, and hips.”
                    In 1834 it is reported in Brandenburg, (Hensinger,) and in 1835 and 1836 in France and England, (Prinz, Veterinarian.) In the spring of 1845 it again prevailed in England, and in July became complicated by a severe inflammation of the eyes and dropsies beneath the belly and on the legs. (Veterinarian.) During the great influenza epidemic of 1847, it prevailed extensively among horses in Europe, and was unusually prevalent in England in the two following years as well. Since that time it has been especially prevalent in Great Britain, in 1851-’52, 1854, 1856-’57, in the early summers of 1862 and 1863, and in the latter part of 1871.

                    ( and then follows a detailed description of the spread in 1872 )
                    I'm interested in expert panflu damage estimates
                    my current links: ILI-charts:


                    • #11
                      Re: The Great Epizootic of 1872

                      Reading about this Epizootic of 1872 is similar to reading about the 1918 Influenza Pandemimic in relation to all the different symptoms. By the synonyms, there seems to be a number of secondary infections in the horse flu also.

                      Also from wikipedia:
                      Synonyms - ...... As seen in animals it has received the following designations: Epizootic catarrh, catarrhal fever, gastro-catarrhal fever, mucous fever, gangrenous peripneumonia, epizootic pleuro-pneumonia, entero-pneumo-carditis, epizootic nervous fever, distemper, blitz katarrh, rheumatic catarrh, la grippe, cocote, typhose, septic?mio, &c

                      Link to the Merck Veterinary Manual
                      The salvage of human life ought to be placed above barter and exchange ~ Louis Harris, 1918


                      • #12
                        Re: The Great Epizootic of 1872

                        they have a detailed list about the spread in 1872, obviously
                        no mosquitos.
                        But is it explained by horse2horse alone ?
                        Or do humans serve as vectors ?

                        Maybe asymptomatically infexted maybe just transporting the virus.
                        Maybe horse-food, water

                        amazing that 99&#37; of horses were infected !
                        You can just keep the horses in the stable for some months and they should be fine. Economically it might have been better to risk infection
                        and rare death, but scientifically it should have been tried in some
                        test-stables. There must be reports about this

                        I assume the same could happen with human flu (99% infected, 1% fatalities) and then it would presumably
                        spread over continents.
                        I'm interested in expert panflu damage estimates
                        my current links: ILI-charts:


                        • #13
                          Re: The Great Epizootic of 1872

                          The disease hit in epidemic proportions, claiming almost a quarter of the nation's horses--some 4 million in all before it ran its course.

                          Some southern cities escaped without much damage

                          Only later did scientists learn that cold weather had killed the mosquitos that transmitted the deadly virus.

                          It differs in form and symptoms as it appears
                          in different localities and at different times. Robertson
                          describes four forms of the disease?(1) simple catarrhal ;
                          (2) pulmonary ; (3) intestinal catarrhal ; (4) rheumatic.
                          Some of these forms may be caused by active living or*
                          ganisms (mites). The disease is very infectious. Severe
                          cases constitute pink eye.

                          The epidemic spread into the countryside, to Union and Cooksville. Nearly every farmer reported that horses were sick.

                          In January 1873, Evansville?s young artist, Theodore
                          Robinson, was visiting in Denver, Colorado and reported that the horse disease had reached Denver

                          It was learned during the great 1872 epizootic epidemic that broke out on the east coast that horses should not be stabled all in one direction, but, rather, alternated so they did not breath on each other
                          I'm interested in expert panflu damage estimates
                          my current links: ILI-charts:


                          • #14
                            Re: The Great Epizootic of 1872

                            it may have become prevalent after 1872,
                            but it became less severe as horses got some immunity.

                            There was a human outbreak in 1874/5 , some even called it a pandemic,
                            not seen in England, maybe the same virus as in the horses
                            or a combined reassortant.
                            And maybe the virus (H1 ?) that gave the children immunity for 1918
                            in the years 1872-1889, when it was probably killed by the
                            Russian pandemic virus, presumably H3.
                            There was probably also some H2 around until ~1890

                            Michigan 1875 , weekly local reports
                            13.—Twenty-two correspondents replied to question 13.
                            In some instances the species of animals diseased are not definitely stated
                            ; but it seems probable that where "epidemic influenza," and "epizootic" are
                            reported, the animals affected were horses.
                            Three correspondents reported "epizootic extensively among horses;"
                            three, reported it " mildly among horses;" one, "influenza among horses;"
                            one, reported "epizootic among horses in spring;" one,
                            "epizootic among horses in January and December;" one,
                            "epizootic genreally among horses late in fall;" one,
                            "epizootic among horses late in fall;" one,
                            " epizootic among horses in winter;" two, "epidemic influenza;"
                            one, "influenza spring and fall;" one, "epizootic in October, lightly, few deaths;"
                            two, "epizootic lightly;" one, "epizootic, few deaths;"
                            one, "ague among cows;" one, "hog cholera, limited ;"
                            one, "hog cholera, general and fatal in fall;"
                            one, "blind staggers among hogs;" and three report"no diseases among animals
                            horses suffer also from a catarrhal affection which resemble
                            resembles, in its symptoms, the disease which is commonly
                            called a " feverish " cold, and which, influenza when severe,
                            is not unlike a mild attack of ^^^^"^^'^ influenza.
                            This disease, which is sometimes called "London fever,"* is
                            always more or less prevalent in the metropolis, and affects
                            chiefly young horses which have recently arrived in town.
                            The London fever is often called influenza, and apparently
                            with aa much or as little reason as a feverish cold is
                            called "an influenza cold."
                            It is not usually a severe disease, and has a tendency to run
                            a favourable course.

                            I'm interested in expert panflu damage estimates
                            my current links: ILI-charts: