Death in Krčmar: A Contribution to the Quantification of the Victims of the 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic

  • Vladimir Krivošejev National Museum of Valjevo
Keywords:
1918 epidemic, pandemic, Spanish flu, Spanish influenza, Valjevo, Krčmar

Abstract

It is estimated that the Spanish flu pandemic, which affected the entire planet from 1918 to 1919, affected about five hundred million people, or one-third of the world's population at the time, and killed about fifty million people. The disease was noticed among Serbian soldiers in Corfu in April 1918, and in May among soldiers on the Salonika Front, but without fatal consequences. During the summer, fatalities were also reported, mainly due to lung compaction. Then the epidemic was reported in occupied Serbia as well. Just at the time of the breakthrough of Salonika Front on the 15th of September, a new wave of the epidemic started, this time fatal. Many soldiers remained lying and dying in military hospitals set up along the way. Some soldiers made it home but then passed away, and some found their homes empty. In occupied Serbia, mass dying began before liberation. In the region of Valjevo, the first deaths occurred in early October, but mass deaths started in late October. This lasted less than two months. Then, by the beginning of the spring of 1919, sporadic deaths due to "pneumonia" were seen as a common complication of Spanish flu, which does not necessarily mean that the epidemic had stopped, but that its end did not have any fatal consequences. In the lowlands of the Valjevo region, mortality was relatively low (in the parish of the church in Rabrovica - 0,44%), in the hilly area the mortality rate was slightly higher (in the parish of the church in Brankovina - 1,32%), and in the high mountain areas, it was very high. An analysis of the number of recorded deaths in the books of the church in Krčmar indicates that over these two months 141 people (4.47% of the population) died in seven villages that belong to the parish of this church. That number is almost equal to the number of deaths from all possible causes over a 33month period: throughout 1917, the first 9 months of 1918, and throughout 1919.  The highest mortality rate , 9,38% of the population,  was recorded in the village of Mratišić, and the lowest, 1,61%  in the village of Gornji Lajkovac. A higher number of deaths were recorded among the female population, but this can be attributed to the decrease in the number of males due to previous years of war.

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Published
2020-07-04
How to Cite
Krivošejev, Vladimir. 2020. “Death in Krčmar: A Contribution to the Quantification of the Victims of the 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic”. Issues in Ethnology and Anthropology 15 (2), 601–626. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.21301/eap.v15i2.12.
Section
Other Humanities and Social Sciences