In June of 2009, the World Health Organization declared an influenza pandemic after over 74 countries reported laboratory-confirmed cases. Genetic analysis showed that this particular influenza was caused by an H1N1 strain unrelated to the human seasonal viruses that had circulated around the world since 1977 (WHO 2010b). In the wake of this announcement, those of us living in Hamilton, Ontario (and in Canada as a whole) were swept up in vigorous public health campaigns that included comprehensive vaccination programs and daily, often alarming, reports about the spread of infection. The 2009 virus, and patterns of illness and death it produced, were eerily similar to those observed during the 1918-19 influenza pandemic and comparisons between the two were often made.
Herring, D Ann; Carraher, Sally; Waugh, Emily; Hughes-Jones, Amy; Edwards, Brydne M.; Koskocky, Laura L.; McGilly, Hope; O'Sullivan, Sarah; Wright, Katie; Thompson, Jean A.; Ravenscroft, Duncan; Pipitone, Elyse; Rickard, Tiffany; Popek, Cassandra; Goertzen, Andrea; Schafer, Rory; Murken, Melanie; Krasulja, Jovan; Zazulak, Katie; Cuthbertson, Brett R.; Chen, Chih; and Lucas, William, "Recurrence and resilience : the third wave of the 1918-19 influenza pandemic in Hamilton" (2010). Anthropology Publications. Paper 3.