Spanish Flu in India in 1918 – an inconspicuous Shipment


Spanish Flu in 1918

In 1918, India had a terrible experience with Spanish flu. On 29th May of 1918, Indian troops arrived at the shores of the Bombay by a ship. The ship was remained anchored to the dock for 2 days. It was just after the World War I, so the ports were so busy with the movement of commodities as well as troops. Everything was coming from and was going to England.

The ship remained in that condition on the water. Besides, even the city didn’t know about the arrival of this kind of cargo. The ship actually arrived with some absurd cargo, which was unknown to everyone. It was the lethal H1N1 influenza virus from the Western front.

On 10th July, seven polices were hospitalized, and one of them had duties at that dock. They revealed the symptoms like influenza, and that was the first case of the dangerous and deadly Spanish flu in India. At that moment, the flu started sweeping away the people at an alarming rate. By the end of the year 1920, the outbreak took away 50 to 100 million lives worldwide. Many sources still claim that the number of death can be more than that.

At that time, India faced the greatest burden in its economy and sufferings among general people. It was estimated that there were 18 million casualties only in India. That was the 6% of the entire population of India.

The mortality rates from the deadly Spanish flu ran throughout the community lines. India was the only place where more women died compared to men, and still, it is harder why that happened. Many scientists assume that the reason can be the eating habit of Indian women as they took less amount of food than the men in average. So, women were perhaps malnourished, which could be the main reason.