Experts Unearth Strange Clue To 1918 Pandemic

According to a report, the 1918 flu virus was exceptional in that it killed robust young individuals along with the elderly and the sick. It killed roughly 50 million individuals or between 1.3% and 3.0% of the world’s population. Wellness and youth offered little protection.

Last week’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences article found that in the 1918 epidemic, skeletons of patients with chronic disorders or nutritional inadequacies showed they were twice as inclined to die as those who didn’t have those conditions, regardless of age.

The 1918 virus killed young individuals, but the report implies that infectious illnesses quickly kill weaker and sicker people.

The paper’s author, University of Colorado anthropologist Sharon DeWitte, said the findings showed that nonaccidental deaths are never indiscriminate.

J. Alex Navarro, a University of Michigan flu pandemic historian, said skeleton analysis provides a fascinating work and a unique technique for studying this topic.

The paper’s lead author, McMaster University anthropologist Amanda Wissler, was interested in assertions that the 1918 influenza virus destroyed young and healthy individuals and individuals with pre-existing problems. There were no medications or immunizations for childhood ailments, and tuberculosis persisted among young adults.

However, who perished from that flu was a mystery, fueling suspicion that health provided no protection. The flu’s W-shaped fatality curve was remarkable. Death rates are highest for babies and older people, as mortality curves are usually U-shaped.

The W was created in 1918 due to death rates surging in 20- to 40-year-olds, babies, and older individuals.

Numerous contemporary reports show that young adults were vulnerable regardless of health.

Professor of Microbiology at Mount Sinai’s Icahn School of Medicine, Dr. Peter Palese, offered a plausible rationale for the 1918 flu’s W-shaped fatality curve. He interpreted this to suggest that most persons over 30 had been subjected to a comparable virus, which had conferred some immunity, but the young were not exposed.

According to a report, while the cause of the devastating flu was unknown, several theories existed. Some allies felt the Germans used biological warfare. Many blamed mustard gas and war smoke and fumes. An uncommon influenza virus genetic change in China was also thought to have caused the deadly pandemic.