Island Scene Online

Printer Friendly

Health > Under the RainbowWinter 2010 IS Magazine

Remembering the Flu Pandemic of 1918

By Lucy Jokiel

While there’s no need to panic, the possibility of another flu pandemic sweeping throughout Hawai‘i and the world should be taken seriously. A pandemic is a global disease outbreak that is analyzed and monitored by the World Health Organization.

The influenza pandemic of 1918 killed between 20 million and 40 million people globally, more deaths than those from World War I. It has been cited as the most devastating pandemic in recorded world history. It was called the “Spanish Flu” because more than 8 million people died of the disease in that country.

In a paper submitted to the Hawaiian Journal of History in 1999, statistician Robert Schmitt and population specialist Eleanor Nordyke said that 2,300 people in Hawai‘i died from the 1918 influenza pandemic. The first cases on O‘ahu occurred at the island’s military and naval bases. “Those deaths gave Hawai‘i its fourth most fatal epidemic in recorded history,” the authors concluded. “Largely forgotten today, the experience deserves remembrance.”

 
Island Scene Online is not intended to replace the advice of health care professionals. Please consult your physician for your personal needs and before making any changes in your lifestyle.
HMSA An Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association
HMSA is licensed to operate in the state of Hawaii. Legal Notices.
© 2014 Hawaii Medical Service Association All Rights Reserved.