Consequences and preparedness of pandemic influenza, a national consern : A study of the effect of the Asian Flu on the Swedish military

University essay from Mittuniversitetet/Institutionen för samhällsvetenskap

Abstract: In 1918, the Spanish flu pandemic killed an estimate number of between 50 and 100 million people worldwide. 40 years later a new influenza pandemic, the Asian flu spread throughout the world. The Asian flu hit a large proportion of the world’s population but the case-fatality rate was lower and an estimated number of 2 to 4 million people died in the pandemic. In order for today’s governments to formulate good preparedness plan for future influenza pandemics, studying previous pandemics can give better understanding of how the community might be affected. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of the Asian flu pandemic on the Swedish military forces. By seeing if the regiment was affected by the Asian flu one can then assume that the whole society was affected. Data from Swedish regiments has been collected from the Defence Medical Administration Service at the National Archives and processed trough SPSS. The findings show that there where an increase of the amount of sick as well as the number of sick leaves during 1957 compared to previous and later years. Because of the increase in sick leaves one can draw the conclusion that the society has a great risk of being influenced. Hence, a preparedness plan will be even more important. Conclusion: The community is affected by influenza pandemic in both an economical and a societal level. The effects are short in time since infected recover quite quick. However, there are effects which could be better handled if the government is prepared and has conducted a plan for when the next pandemic influenza strikes.

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