The Spanish Flu pandemic had the globe in its grip in the early part of the century
And the deadliest second wave caused by a mutation in the virus hit in October and November 1918.
There were between 50 and 100 million worldwide deaths and 10,000 to 11,400 deaths in Wales estimated.
Now, medical experts are hoping the warnings of the past will shake people out of any complacency they might have about getting themselves vaccinated in 2018.
The flu had started to take hold in Wales in July 1918 in the south east valleys where death rates of up to 15.9 people per 1,000 in one week were recorded.
Swansea at that time was lower, with 4.3 deaths per 1,000 in one week.
By October/November 1918 the Cardiff death rate was peaking at 38.3 deaths per 1,000 and Swansea at 37.9 during the worst weeks.
The worst hit area was Ogmore and Garw, where the death rate was 106 per 1,000 in one week in November 1918. During this week alone 57 people died in these two valleys. This was the highest death rate in a week anywhere in England or Wales.
Yet in Maesteg the death rate was much lower overall during the pandemic, 2.1 per 1,000 or 50 deaths in total.
At the end of the pandemic, the overall death rate in Wales was calculated at 4.3 per 1,000. North Wales was said to have seen the most deaths overall with a final count of 6.7 dead per 1,000 population.
The flu claimed 434 lives in Swansea, with the largest loss of life among those aged 21 to 40.
Many troops fortunate enough to survive the horror of the trenches and battlefields would be struck down before pen could be put to The Armistice paper.
Others made it back to Wales only to die within hours or days of developing symptoms.
Unusually, it was otherwise healthy young adults who were hardest hit by the virus. Between May 11 and December 1918 in Swansea there were 61 deaths in cases of patients aged up to 20.
But no part of society was left untouched.
Why we should still be worried about flu
Virologist Professor John Oxford, the UK’s leading flu expert, whose research into the 1918-19 pandemic is world famous, said he believed many people had forgotten the misery the virus could cause, leading to complacency among some about vaccination.
While stories of battlefield heroism and loss got passed down through the generations, the numerous tragedies wrought by flu were not spoken about and have become lost.
“It still has a big lesson for us, 1918. People usually say it’s a long time ago and everyone was starving, but they weren’t. It’s not that long ago either,” said Prof Oxford, Emeritus Professor of Virology at the University of London.
“Now we have anti-viral drugs stockpiled and a government plan (in the event of a similar pandemic). Still, a virus like flu can mutate and become exceedingly dangerous quite quickly.
“It sets a scene, the pandemic, for what could happen in a big outbreak.”
Prof Oxford has compiled a worldwide casualty list for flu, much like a battlefield casualty list that would have been made during World War One.
It includes not only those killed, but also those left with permanent harm as a result of the flu as complications can, in serious cases, include pneumonia, inflammation of the heart, brain or muscle tissue and organ failure.
“The casualty list for flu in the last 100 years is one billion,” he said.
“That would include 100 million people from 1918. Then you have the pandemic of 1957 and the pandemic of ’68. Then on top we have the year to year epidemics.
“I don’t know of any other virus on this planet that has had this impact in the community. Polio had an impact but not on one billion people.
“We are still underestimating it (flu) and it just needs a lot more attention and action.
“But more than the whole we will never sort out the pandemic until we sort out the epidemics.
“The vaccination year by year is important and that experience can be used rather quickly.”
The total number of people now receiving the flu vaccination in the ABMU area is rising each year.
But the first modern flu vaccine was still two decades away and Aneurin Bevan was 30 years away from creating the NHS when the pandemic’s most-deadly second phase came to Bridgend and the surrounding valleys, Neath, Port Talbot and Swansea.
It had been dubbed the Spanish flu, not for its origin, but because Spain, as a neutral nation in World War One, had been free to report it in the press without censorship.
Most UK newspapers were censored to protect morale while the war still raged, but the Swansea newspaper of the time, the Cambria Daily Leader, made frequent reference to it.
On June 22, 1918, a headline stated: Unwelcome Spanish Visitor Reaches Swansea.
The report said: “If you are well in the morning and before noon develop a fearful headache, a sore throat, an all-round lassitude (weakness), you’ve caught it – or, rather, it has caught you.
“Ordinary influenza creeps upon you. The new kind comes with a jump. The one attacks you as a craven wolf might: the other springs upon you like a lion.”
Six days later another report said: “The Spanish influenza runs its giddy course in and around Swansea. It is no respecter of persons; busy and leisured people, rich and poor, young and old, are down with it.
“In one controlled works in the neighbourhood over 40 girls are down with it; one of the drapery establishments of the town has 15 girl workers hors de combat (out of action); whole families in the Hafod and elsewhere are contemporary sufferers; and everywhere one hears the same tale of woe.”
Then, on October 28, it reported that both Private William Harold Brown of the Royal Army Medical Corps and a chaplain, the Reverend Basil Jones, had both died from pneumonia while serving in France.
While influenza is not mentioned, pneumonia is a known serious complication of flu. And, as the illness was not very well understood at the time, deaths were often attributed to pneumonia.
Victims’ lungs filled with fluid leaving them struggling to breathe and their face, lips and ears would turn blue, a process known as cyanosis.
On December 27, the Glamorgan Gazette reported that a local soldier still serving in France had died of the flu.
It said that Second Lieutenant Hugh Griffiths of the Royal Engineers (Road Construction Co) had “met with an accident in a railway smash” and suffered two crushed legs.
“He subsequently contracted influenza due to shock and exposure,” the paper stated.
But soldiers were not the only ones affected. Huge numbers of sick workers left transport services and industry, including collieries and woollen mills, across south west Wales paralysed.
Schools were closed, local elections, church services and theatre shows were disrupted as teachers, pupils, politicians, priests and performers were all laid low and the authorities sought to limit infection.
It wiped out entire families
Whole families fell ill, with husbands and wives, parents and children all dying within a day or two of the onset of symptoms. Demand for grave spaces rocketed.
The H1N1 strain of the virus that caused the pandemic was unusually virulent, killing with a swiftness that alarmed medics of the time.
On November 5 the Cambria Daily Leader reported: “Miss Florence Kathleen Jacobs, eldest daughter of Mr and Mrs Jacobs, 3 St James’s Crescent, Swansea, died on Sunday from pneumonia following influenza.
“The deceased was only 22 years of age, was taken ill Wednesday last.
“Two other daughters are at present confined to their rooms through influenza.”
Those who nursed the sick were also falling ill.
The Leader reported in November that the Swansea Hospital Board had 14 nurses down with the flu with one, Annie Morgan, dying of pneumonia.
Further deaths in the community and abroad from flu and its complications were recorded in the local press.
How did it start?
Opinion is divided over where in the world the outbreak, caused by an H1N1 virus which spread from wild waterfowl to humans, began.
Some scientists believe patient zero was Private Albert Gitchell, a cook at an Army base in Kansas in the United States, who fell ill in March, 1918.
It’s believed the virus spread rapidly among the soldiers who were then shipped to Europe to fight.
Prof Oxford also believes it originated in an Army transit camp, but one in France where thousands of soldiers were living in cramped conditions with animals.
It’s now thought the end of the pandemic was brought about by a further mutation in the flu virus, which made it less dangerous. The huge rate of infection also meant people had developed immunity.
There have been pandemics since, including in 2009, but none as serious as 1918-1919.
The official UK Government guidance on pandemics states a pandemic emerges as the result of a new flu virus, which is markedly different from recently circulating strains.
Therefore, a pandemic is distinct from seasonal flu, which comes along every autumn and winter and generally targets the weakest in society – the very young, the old and those with long-term health conditions.
However, Prof Oxford said the seasonal flu should still not be underestimated.
He said healthcare professionals should lead by example by having the vaccination and the general public should not be lulled into a false sense of security by believing flu only badly affected pensioners.
“We’re all in this together. We know from the figures that every year people die across all the age groups, but the most people statistically are the over 65s and the under sixes,” he said.
“But nonetheless, through the community people do die every year.
“We don’t know why it will go for a 25-year-old and kill a 25-year-old, but it does. It’s more rare but it happens.”
How you can protect yourself
On January 23 this year ABMU reported there had been 12 deaths of patients which had been linked to flu.
As we enter another flu season, people in at-risk groups are being urged to take up the offer of a free NHS flu vaccination.
Parents are also being urged to ensure their children receive the free nasal spray vaccine.
Prof Oxford said the reason the flu vaccine had to be changed every year by scientists who made a best guess of the viruses they expected to be circulating, was because flu was so unstable.
“It’s a very, very unusual virus. The MMR (Measles Mumps and Rubella) vaccine has not needed to be changed since it was introduced in 1970. The vaccines can be used year after year.
The polio vaccine developed in the 1950s can still be used. With most vaccines you are in a very stable situation.
“Vaccinating up until the age of nine (which is Year 5 in England but vaccination extends to Year 6 in Wales) is a very important new venture initially because of the evidence that more often than not influenza gets into a family via a child.
“Their hygiene is usually low, their social distancing is non existent as they will hold hands, so a virus like flu will move very quickly from child to child and they will introduce it into the home.
“The scheme is to protect the children because children could die and get seriously ill, but it might somehow protect the parents and grandparents as it will reduce the amount of infection being brought home.”
He said flu remained high on the agenda for health professionals across the world due to the danger it still posed.
“No-one can predict what will happen this year other than that there will be an outbreak of some description – but it’s in the lap of the gods how big it is – and people will die and a lot of people will get ill.
“But we have got some protection that is being offered by the vaccination and it’s a very strange attitude when people don’t get it.
“You cannot argue that it was a big outbreak last year and it’s going to be small this year. You just don’t know.
“It’s a very unpredictable virus.”
ABMU’s director of nursing and patient experience, Gareth Howells, said: “While pandemic flu is distinct from the seasonal flu we face annually, the centenary of the Spanish Flu is still a timely reminder that this virus should not be underestimated.
“Our area, along with the rest of Wales, was badly hit in last year’s flu season and some patients sadly died.
“Others were left seriously ill and had to be hospitalised.
“Thankfully, unlike the population a century ago, we now have access to modern vaccines which, although not a 100% guarantee, offer the best protection we have against flu.
“I urge all of those in at-risk groups to ensure they take up the offer of their free flu vaccination on the NHS.”
- Everything you need to know about the deadly flu epidemic sweeping the US
- How to stockpile profits before the flu pandemic
- Flu costs Spanish firms €1.2 billion a year
- Businesses brace themselves for the flu season
- BILL GATES: A new kind of terrorism could wipe out 30 million people -- and we are not prepared
- Massive fire wipes out Spanish food factory
- Fraud allegations wipe smile from Spain's 'McDentist'
- Measles wipe immune system's memory of other illnesses, studies find
- A new Ebola outbreak has infected 32 people — and the White House official in charge of responses to global pandemics just left
- Spanish giant looking to ditch UK road arm
- People at the Olympics are violently ill and vomiting, and officials are worried about a highly contagious outbreak
- DealBook Briefing: This Year’s Stock Gains Are Wiped Out
- Remains of Spanish dictatorship's victims handed to families, 80 years on
- If Something Is Going To Destroy Humanity, It’s Going To Be One Of These Catastrophes
- The Epidemics That Have Defined Human History, In One Chart
- It's OK to work out while sick with a cold — if you pass the neck check
- Opioid crisis linked to two-year drop in US life expectancy
- The depression you’ve probably never heard of
- This Is How The World Gets Sick
- How to cash in on the financial treats of turning 60
|Doggin Bat (out 11-12) (check at Amazon)||5.0|
|Wipe Out (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|A Mother's Prayer/When the Lights Go Out (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|When the Lights Went Out (2012) ( Speak No Evil ) [ NON-USA FORMAT, PAL, Reg.2 Import - Germany ] (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|When the Lights Go Out (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|When Women Played Ding Dong / 50,000 B.C. (Before Clothing) (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Moloko: 11,000 Clicks (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Standard Deviants School - Spanish, Program 11 - Using Verbs in the Present Indicative Tense (Classroom Edition) (DVD) (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|When Stand Up Stood Out [DVD] (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Toilet Paper Wipe Out Terrorism Osama Bin Laden (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Just My Style 11,000 Beads Kit with Jewelry Designer Workstation (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Learning Resources New Sprouts Camp Out!, 11 Pieces (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Cobble Hill Wiped Out (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Atlas N 43731: 11,000 Gallon Tank Car, Mississippi Chemical #502 (N Scale) (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Senario Waikiki Wipe Out (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|BBTac 11,000 BBs for Airsoft Guns 6mm .12g BB Ammo Pallets (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Wipe Out Sharp Shoot Wipeout Accelerator Bore Cleaner 8 Oz Bottle Md: WAC800 WAC800 (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|WIPE OUT WIPE OUT 5OZ BORE CLEANER (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Speedo Men's Wipe Out Floral e-Board Watershorts (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Jeff Gordon NASCAR #24 2015 Racing Flat Out 11 x 17 Plastic Sign (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Storm Wipe Out (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|11,000 Seamless 6mm 0.12g Airsoft BBs for High Speed Airsoft Guns Precision BB Pellets Wholesale (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Streetwise Security Products SF Blackout 11,000,000-volt Stun Gun Rechargeable (check at Amazon)||3.6|
|Wipe Out Sharp Shoot 4 Ounce Royal Case Lube Md: RLJ004 RLJ004 (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Plush Sounding Dog Magnet When picked up sounds out with barking and panting! (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Four out of Three People Struggle With Math - High Quality Mens Fashion Tee Shirt (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Speedo Men's Wipe Out Floral Splice e-Board Watershorts (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Hula Boat Care Wipe Out Vinyl Cleaner & Conditioner (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Metabo LF724S 3-1/7-Inch 11,000 RPM 6.4-Amp Paint Stripper with Case (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Makita Usa GA4030K Angle Grinder, With Small Barrel Grip, 4-In., 6-Amp, 11,000-RPM (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Dewalt D28402 4-1/2" Small Angle Grinder with 10 Amp Motor and 11,000 RPM, (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Makita XOB01Z 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless Random Orbit Sander, 7,000, 9,500, 11,000 OPM, 5-Inch (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Streetwise Security Products SF Hottie 11,000,000-volt Stun Gun Rechargeable (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Heavy-Duty Steel Pry Bar Lever - 11,000-Lb. Capacity, 72in. Handle (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Blair (BLR11100-3) "11,000 Series" Rotobroach Cutters - 1/4" (3 Pack) (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Jolt Jolt 11,000,000-volt Stun Flashlight (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Metabo W780 11,000 RPM 7.2 AMP 4-1/2 inch Angle Grinder (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Eco Friendly Stone Polishing Pad Cheetah 20 Inch Kit of 4 Plus Monkey 11,000 (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Professional-Grade Biscuit Jointer - 1-1/4 hp - 11,000 RPM (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|The Hardy Boys - Wipe Out [VHS] (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|106R01530 High-Capacity Toner, 11,000 Page-Yield, Black (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Dooni Designs Cause Awareness Ribbon Designs - Wipe Out Asperger Syndrome Awareness Ribbon Cause Design - MousePad (mp_115120_1) (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Lexmark E450 - 11,000 Page Toner - Compatible Lexmark E450 Toner (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Franklin DBE1500 - Spanish-English Dictionary w/5,000,000 Total Translations (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Team Moon: How 400,000 People Landed Apollo 11 on the Moon (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|What to Eat When You're Eating Out: What to Eat in America's Most Popular Chain Restaurants (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Cold Free Forever: Wipe out colds and allergies, and sinus infections, and flu.: 3 secrets to change your life! (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Dagbani Language / Version: 1982 United Bible Societies / Dagbani is a Gur language spoken by about 800,000 people in Ghana. (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Love reaches out: Meditations for people in love (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Cold Free Forever: Wipe out colds and allergies, and sinus infections, and flu. (check at Amazon)||0.0|
When Spanish flu wiped out 11,000 people in Wales have 2970 words, post on www.walesonline.co.uk at November 1, 2018. This is cached page on USA Breaking News. If you want remove this page, please contact us.