Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
D. Ann Herring
The 1918 influenza pandemic was not a disease of infants. Most research on this disease has focused on young adults, whose excess mortality was most alarming. However, as infant mortality rates are a measure of social health, an analysis of infant death provides another avenue for exploring the declining environmental conditions due to this epidemic. This study investigates infant mortality in Toronto, Canada, from September to December 1918, through the Registered Death Records of the Province of Ontario. A comparison of infant death in 1918 to surrounding years (1917-1921) revealed that infant mortality rates remained relatively stable. However, there were changes in the infant mortality profile. Deaths from influenza did increase slightly and were early for the typical airborne disease season. While infants did not suffer from the drastic rise in excess mortality that was seen in adults, the epidemic altered who was dying and when. Although a community may be greatly strained by an epidemic and stressful social conditions, the infant mortality rate may be more representative of long-term social stress rather than acute, intensive crises.
Hallman, Stacey, "The Effect of Pandemic Influenza on Infant Mortality in Toronto, Ontario, 1917-1921." (2009). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 4551.
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