University of Tasmania
Carnes 1976.pdf (4.2 MB)

The Spanish influenza pandemic in Tasmania, 1919 : a study of the impact and effect of influenza in Tasmania

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posted on 2023-05-27, 08:47 authored by Carnes, CS
The universality of influenza has made it a topic of discussion in all corners of the globe. The pandemic of 1918 - 1919 added much to the impetus of this debate and encouraged the writing of numerous books and articles in almost every language. This immediately limited my access to the wealth of materials available, though English editions proved quite adequate within the scope of work undertaken. MacFarlane Burnet and Ellen Clark's research into the cause and effects of influenza is one such work. An extensive analysis of the global effects of the pandemic by Richard Collier tackles the issue from a personalized viewpoint. However, the information provided is interesting and elaborate. A pioneering study by J.H.L. Cumpston, Federal Director of Quarantine in 1919, later historian, placed influenza in a political perspective. Cumpston recognized the need for a national system of quarantining so that a future epidemic may be fought in a more unified and systematic manner. He further emphasized that placing control of quarantine matters in the 'hands of committees with very little experience in the control of epidemics was inadequate. Subsequent events proved him correct. The author accepts the validity of this comment. The situation in Tasmania differed little to that on the mainland and can only reinforce Cumpston's view. Burnet and Clark urged the study of influenza because 'of the possible imminence of another great pandemic arising. This appears to be the criteria of many medical historians who are working even now to find an effective answer to the control of influenza. On the International scene the main function of the W.H.O. Influenza Surveillance Centre is to maintain a constant vigilance over the entire world. They must detect and erase influenza unless the nightmarish ghost of 1918 - 1919 may arise once more from the ashes.


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Copyright 1976 the author

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