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The 1918 influenza pandemic hastened the decline of tuberculosis in the United States: An age, period, cohort analysis


The effect of the 1918 influenza pandemic on other diseases is a neglected topic in historical epidemiology. This paper takes up the hypothesis that the influenza pandemic affected the long-term decline of tuberculosis though selective mortality, such that many people with tuberculosis were killed in 1918, depressing subsequent tuberculosis mortality and transmission. Regularly-collected vital statistics data on mortality of influenza and tuberculosis in the US are presented and analyzed demographically. The available population-level data fail to contradict the selection hypothesis. More work is needed to understand fully the role of multiple morbidities in the 1918 influenza pandemic.

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