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The Influenza Epidemic of 1918–19 in the Gold Coast1

  • K. David Patterson (a1)

The Gold Coast (modern Ghana) was severely attacked by the influenza pandemic of 1918–19. The disease was introduced by shipping along the southern coast and overland across the northern frontier. As was true elsewhere on the continent, the spread of influenza was greatly facilitated by the new colonial transportation network. Quarantines and other preventive measures were futile and therapy, African or British, could do no more than alleviate symptoms. Influenza struck the majority of the population, but mortality rates varied regionally and, to some extent, by occupation. Deaths were especially numerous in the far north. The influenza epidemic killed 100,000 or more people in less than six months and was almost certainly the worst short-term demographic disaster in the history of Ghana.

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Raymond E. Dumett , ‘The campaign against malaria and the expansion of scientific medical and sanitary services in British West Africa, 1890–1910’, African Historical Studies, 1 (1968), 191–5

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The Journal of African History
  • ISSN: 0021-8537
  • EISSN: 1469-5138
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-african-history
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