COCIRCULATING EPIDEMICS, CHRONIC HEALTH PROBLEMS, AND SOCIAL CONDITIONS IN EARLY 20TH CENTURY LABRADOR AND ALASKA

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Abstract

Analyses of mortality in Alaska and Labrador during the 1918 influenza pandemic indicate that influenza itself was only one of several factors influencing mortality in different communities. We discuss the added impact of exposure to influenza prior to the major waves of the pandemic in 1918 and cocirculation of other acute infectious diseases, including pneumonia, smallpox, and measles; chronic conditions such as nutritional deficiencies and tuberculosis; and social and cultural factors such as the economic climate, ethnicity, official responses, and access to health care. The emphasis is on potential explanations for differential mortality in these regions and on how the experiences of Labradoreans and Alaskans can help to inform us about the multitude of interrelated factors influencing modern health issues.

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