Article ID: CBB539750154

The 1918 “Spanish Flu” Pandemic in the Ottoman Capital, Istanbul (2020)


Although the general course, possible transmission routes, and actual sociodemographic destruction of the 1918 influenza pandemic in the Western world are well documented, the literature lacks similar data about the Middle East. On the calamity’s centenary, this article aims to contribute to filling this gap, investigating the presence and effects of the pandemic in Istanbul, the city bridging the West and East, then as the capital of the Ottoman Empire. After the retrieval of the most relevant articles in Vakit, a daily Istanbul newspaper active throughout the pandemic, a variety of items, including articles with firsthand pronouncements from contemporaneous medical authorities and a clinical account of supportive autopsy findings, are scrutinized and interpreted. The reviewed data are concluded to indicate no epidemiological or factual exception, showing significant parallelism with the Western experience of the pandemic in terms of increased influenza mortality and morbidity, severe clinical presentation, common misinformation and misdiagnosis, and failure to provide effective prevention and medical treatment.

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Authors & Contributors
Bulmus, Birsen
Almeida, Maria Antónia Pires de
Serrón, Víctor
Jahn, Stefanie
Honigsbaum, Mark
Dicke, Tom
Centaurus: International Magazine of the History of Mathematics, Science, and Technology
Canadian Journal of Health History/Revue canadienne d’histoire de la santé
Public Understanding of Science
História, Ciências, Saúde---Manguinhos
Medizin, Gesellschaft, und Geschichte
Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences
MIT Press
Edinburgh University Press
I. B. Tauris
University of Cambridge (United Kingdom)
Cambridge University
Public health
Medicine and society
Infectious diseases
Prevention and control of disease
Time Periods
20th century, early
19th century
21st century
20th century
16th century
18th century
United States
Ottoman Empire
London (England)
Québec (Canada)

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