Health, Intl. ep. 3: Spanish Flu and the Uses of History with Covid-19

In the third episode of the Health, Intl. podcast, Samhita and Thomas discuss the Spanish flu of 1917-1920, a global pandemic that could provide analogies for the current Covid 19 crisis. They discuss how the Spanish flu has been often forgotten in history, and how the flu compares and contrasts with today’s pandemic.

Listen now.

Episode notes

Featuring: Samhita Bharadwaj & Thomas Gidney

Music: What I Learned from Your Mother, by Elephant Funeral (CC By-NC-ND 4.0)

Picture: Men wearing masks during the Spanish Influenza epidemic / Hommes portant un masque durant l’épidémie de grippe espagnole, 1918. Library and Archives Canada, PA-025025, CC By 2.0.

Sources:

Spinney, Laura. Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How It Changed the World. 1 edition. New York: PublicAffairs, 2017.

Crosby, Alfred W. America’s Forgotten Pandemic: The Influenza of 1918. Cambridge University Press, 2003.

Oxford, JS, A Sefton, R Jackson, W Innes, RS Daniels, and NPAS Johnson. “World War I May Have Allowed the Emergence of ‘Spanish’ Influenza.” The Lancet Infectious Diseases 2, no. 2 (February 1, 2002): 111–14. 

Cheng, K. F., and P. C. Leung. “What Happened in China during the 1918 Influenza Pandemic?” International Journal of Infectious Diseases 11, no. 4 (July 1, 2007): 360–64. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijid.2006.07.009.

Langford, Christopher. “Did the 1918–19 Influenza Pandemic Originate in China?” Population and Development Review 31, no. 3 (2005): 473–505. 

Oxford, John S., and Douglas Gill. “A Possible European Origin of the Spanish Influenza and the First Attempts to Reduce Mortality to Combat Superinfecting Bacteria: An Opinion from a Virologist and a Military Historian.” Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics 15, no. 9 (September 2, 2019): 2009–12. 

E-book of the week: “Pandemics and Emerging Infectious Diseases: The Sociological Agenda”, by Robert Dingwall, Lily M. Hoffman and Karen Staniland

“Infectious disease pandemics are a rising threat in our globalizing world. This agenda-setting collection provides international analysis of the pressing sociological concerns they confront us with, from cross-border coordination of public health governance to geopolitical issues of development and social equity. Focuses on vital sociological issues raised by resurgent disease pandemics. Detailed analysis of case studies as well as broader, systemic factors. Contributions from North America, Europe and Asia provide international perspective. Bold, agenda-setting treatment of a high-profile topic.”

https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/graduateinstitute/detail.action?docID=1222575

Publisher: John Wiley, 2013.

Film of the week: “Contagion”, by Steven Soderbergh

“When Beth Emhoff (Gwyneth Paltrow) returns to Minnesota from a Hong Kong business trip, she attributes the malaise she feels to jet lag. However, two days later, Beth is dead, and doctors tell her shocked husband (Matt Damon) that they have no idea what killed her. Soon, many others start to exhibit the same symptoms, and a global pandemic explodes. Doctors try to contain the lethal microbe, but society begins to collapse as a blogger (Jude Law) fans the flames of paranoia.”

102 min., 2011
Call number: 8.0 CON HEIDVD 2906

Book of the week: “Pandemic: tracking contagion, from cholera to Ebola and beyond”, by Sonia Shah

“A wide-ranging inquiry into the origins of pandemics. Interweaving history, original reportage, and personal narrative, Pandemic explores the origins of epidemics, drawing parallels between the story of cholera-one of history’s most disruptive and deadly pathogens-and the new pathogens that stalk humankind today, from Ebola and avian influenza to drug-resistant superbugs. More than three hundred infectious diseases have emerged or reemerged in new territory during the past fifty years, and 90 percent of epidemiologists expect that one of them will cause a disruptive, deadly pandemic sometime in the next two generations. To reveal how that might happen, Sonia Shah tracks each stage of cholera’s dramatic journey from harmless microbe to world-changing pandemic, from its 1817 emergence in the South Asian hinterlands to its rapid dispersal across the nineteenth-century world and its latest beachhead in Haiti. She reports on the pathogens following in cholera’s footsteps, from the MRSA bacterium that besieges her own family to the never-before-seen killers emerging from China’s wet markets, the surgical wards of New Delhi, the slums of Port-au-Prince, and the suburban backyards of the East Coast. By delving into the convoluted science, strange politics, and checkered history of one of the world’s deadliest diseases, Pandemic reveals what the next epidemic might look like-and what we can do to prevent it.”

Publisher: New York, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2016
Call number: 614 HEIA 114963