Colds and flu

Updated 11 October 2017

1918 flu - eyewitness accounts

It is difficult for us to imagine what it must have been like in 1918, but these eyewitness accounts give us some idea.

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It is difficult for us to imagine what it must have been like in 1918, but these eyewitness accounts give us some idea:

"It was like an avalanche fell on us." (South African Medical Record 11 Jan 1919)

"Dit het vir my gesmaak of die end van die mensdom daar was. Daar was meer begrafnisse op een dag as in gewone omstandighede in 'n hele maand." (E. Buys - Triomf van 'n Reddingsdaad - AVBOB en Van Rooijen)

"...corpses were lying in the same hut as the living, who are themselves too weak and too indifferent with pain to try to move them..." (from W.I.B. Beveridge, Influenza: The Last Great Plaque).

Sources for the whole section on the 1918 epidemic in South Africa: SA Railways and Harbour Magazine, December 1918; Phillips, Howard. South Africa's worst Demographic Disaster: The Spanish Influenza Epidemic of 1918. (South African Historical Journal, (20), 1988.

 

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Dr Heidi van Deventer completed her MBChB (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery) degree in 2004 at the University of Stellenbosch.
She has additional training in ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support) and PALS (Paediatric Advanced Life Support) as well as biostatistics and epidemiology.

Dr Van Deventer is currently working as a researcher at the Desmond Tutu Tuberculosis Centre at the University of Stellenbosch.

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