Skeletons of 1918 flu victims reveal clues about who may have died

A new paper published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Using evidence from the skeletons of those who died in the 1918 outbreak, researchers reported that people with chronic diseases or malnutrition, regardless of their age, were twice as likely to die as those without such conditions.

The 1918 virus killed the young, but it was no exception to the observation that infectious diseases kill the weak and sick most easily.

Sharon DeVitte, an anthropologist at the University of Colorado, Boulder and author of the paper, said the finding had a clear message: “We should never expect any accidental cause of death to be blind.”

Analysis of the skeletons was conducted by University of Michigan flu epidemic historian J. Alex Navarro makes “a fascinating article and a very interesting approach to studying this issue.”
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