25 October 2011

Death anomalies in England and Wales

Continuing with the investigation of vital statistics from FreeBMD, for England and Wales, the graph shows annual deaths.

The anomalous years with excess deaths are 1915, 1918, 1929, 1940 and 1941. The latter two are presumably the WW2 blitz.

1918, the largest deviation with 115,000 excess deaths over the two adjacent years, includes the height of the global influenza pandemic.

Deaths in 1915 were about 50,000 greater than the year before or after. This report of the 1918-1919 influenza outbreak records "a continuous smouldering of influenza itself which in 1915 caused more deaths than in any previous year of this century."

1929 deaths averaged 75,000 higher that the two surrounding years. This report shows a major influenza outbreak that year as well.

Considering that the 2009 H1N1 or "swine flu" WHO declared pandemic took perhaps 18,000 lives globally the outbreaks of 1915 and 1929 are notable.

Did you get your flu shot this year?

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