Selective Mortality in Norway during the 1918 Flu Pandemic

Andrew Noymer, University of California, Irvine

Using data from the USA, Noymer and Garenne (2000) postulated that there was selective mortality in the 1918-19 influenza pandemic. Specifically, declines of tuberculosis mortality after 1918 were accelerated by the influenza pandemic having consumed, all-at-once, a large number of tuberculosis-infected people. This knocked-down tuberculosis transmission, and also simply killed in 1918 a large number of TB-infected people whose deaths would otherwise have been distributed throughout the early 1920s. This was not corroborated in Australian data (Noymer, in preparation). The explanation for this is that in Australia, TB was less prevalent than the USA, and moreover the influenza pandemic was less severe. On the other hand, this paper looks at Norway, where the influenza was severe and in which tuberculosis was famously a major cause of death. A priori, Norway ought to corroborate the American findings. It does. The present paper shows age- and time- specific declines consistent with selection.

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Presented in Session 125: International Insights about Health and Mortality