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Public lecture on the 1918-1919 Spanish Flu in the Maltese islands

Why were married women twice as likely to contract the Spanish Flu in 1918 as married men? The answer to this question is one of many fascinating insights to be provided by Mario Saliba during a virtual public lecture.

In an academic paper that Dr Saliba published in 2018 with two Canadian anthropologists, the answer came down to the larger family size a century ago, which put women in constant contact with their children - who were found to carry the Spanish Flu virus for longer periods of time and also shed larger amounts of the virus, among other factors.

The Spanish Flu wreaked unprecedented havoc and killed over 40 million people around the world - more than the number that were killed during World War I.

Malta and Gozo were also affected, with three waves hitting the islands over a period of nine months. Dr Saliba's research showed that 5.62% of the population in Malta and 9.41% of that in Gozo contracted the disease, according to the notification of infectious diseases. Around 16,000 cases were reported over the 12-month period, but the influenza probably effected some 50,000 persons. The death toll reached 1,000, one in ten of which were recorded in Gozo.

Dr Saliba's lecture will be held virtually on Facebook Live on 24 June at 11am on our page Central Bank of Malta - Events, with the video available shortly afterwards.

Registration is not required for this virtual event but we urge you to follow our page and sign up for notifications about future events.

Public lecture on the 1918-1919 Spanish Flu in the Maltese islands

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