The Epidemic : The Influenza Pandemic

1322 Words6 Pages
Following the severe case of the 14th century Black Death outbreak, the influenza pandemic comes in second (Tomkins 1992:181). Across much of the South Pacific, the effects of the influenza was nothing but “misery and death… and nowhere were its ravages more devastating than in the South Pacific” (Tomkins 1992:181). Within the islands of the South Pacific, the most severely hit was Western Samoa, who’s population declined incredibly by losing one fifth of their population (Ministry for Culture and Heritage 2014). The main argument of this essay presents the intersectionality of a human biology disease and Samoa’s culture, particularly looking at Western Samoa’s lack of political authority, resources, and measures that restricted Samoa’s ability to control the 1918 influenza epidemic. Not only was it cultural factors, but political and economical factors also contributed to the island’s exposure to influenza (McLane 2012:iv). This essay will examine three discussion points; the statistics of influenza in Western Samoa, the process/arrival of the 1918 influenza into Western Samoa, and lastly how Samoa’s culture and in particular it’s political system significantly contributed to the deadly statistics of influenza deaths within Western Samoa. Western Samoa was severely subjected to the outbreak of influenza between 1918-1920 (McLane 2012:152). Within the first few weeks of its arrival into Western Samoa, rates of population deaths were already reaching an ultimate high
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