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Open AccessArticle

Impact of the 1918 Influenza Pandemic in Coastal Kenya

1
Influenza Program, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-Kenya, Nairobi 00621, Kenya
2
Influenza Division, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA 30333, USA
3
Division of Global Health Protection, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-Kenya, Nairobi 00621, Kenya
4
Division of Global Health Protection, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA 30333, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2019, 4(2), 91; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed4020091
Received: 15 March 2019 / Revised: 28 May 2019 / Accepted: 30 May 2019 / Published: 8 June 2019
The 1918 influenza pandemic was the most significant pandemic recorded in human history. Worldwide, an estimated half billion persons were infected and 20 to 100 million people died in three waves during 1918 to 1919. Yet the impact of this pandemic has been poorly documented in many countries especially those in Africa. We used colonial-era records to describe the impact of 1918 influenza pandemic in the Coast Province of Kenya. We gathered quantitative data on facility use and all-cause mortality from 1912 to 1925, and pandemic-specific data from active reporting from September 1918 to March 1919. We also extracted quotes from correspondence to complement the quantitative data and describe the societal impact of the pandemic. We found that crude mortality rates and healthcare utilization increased six- and three-fold, respectively, in 1918, and estimated a pandemic mortality rate of 25.3 deaths/1000 people/year. Impact to society and the health care system was dramatic as evidenced by correspondence. In conclusion, the 1918 pandemic profoundly affected Coastal Kenya. Preparation for the next pandemic requires continued improvement in surveillance, education about influenza vaccines, and efforts to prevent, detect and respond to novel influenza outbreaks. View Full-Text
Keywords: influenza pandemic; Spanish flu; 1918 pandemic; Kenya; Africa influenza pandemic; Spanish flu; 1918 pandemic; Kenya; Africa
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Andayi, F.; Chaves, S.S.; Widdowson, M.-A. Impact of the 1918 Influenza Pandemic in Coastal Kenya. Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2019, 4, 91.

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