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Testing the influenza-tuberculosis selective mortality hypothesis with Union Army data

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  • Noymer, Andrew

Abstract

Using Cox regression, this paper shows a weak association between having tuberculosis and dying from influenza among Union Army veterans in late nineteenth-century America. It has been suggested elsewhere [Noymer, A. and M. Garenne (2000). The 1918 influenza epidemic's effects on sex differentials in mortality in the United States. Population and Development Review 26(3), 565-581.] that the 1918 influenza pandemic accelerated the decline of tuberculosis, by killing many people with tuberculosis. The question remains whether individuals with tuberculosis were at greater risk of influenza death, or if the 1918/post-1918 phenomenon arose from the sheer number of deaths in the influenza pandemic. The present findings, from microdata, cautiously point toward an explanation of Noymer and Garenne's selection effect in terms of age-overlap of the 1918 pandemic mortality and tuberculosis morbidity, a phenomenon I term "passive selection". Another way to think of this is selection at the cohort, as opposed to individual, level.

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  • Noymer, Andrew, 2009. "Testing the influenza-tuberculosis selective mortality hypothesis with Union Army data," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 68(9), pages 1599-1608, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:68:y:2009:i:9:p:1599-1608
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    1. > Economics of Welfare > Health Economics > Economics of Pandemics > Consequences > Mortality

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    2. Peter Juul Egedesø & Casper Worm Hansen & Peter Sandholt Jensen, 2020. "Preventing the White Death: Tuberculosis Dispensaries," The Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 130(629), pages 1288-1316.
    3. Jan Saarela & Fjalar Finnäs, 2012. "Long-term Mortality of War Cohorts: The Case of Finland," European Journal of Population, Springer;European Association for Population Studies, vol. 28(1), pages 1-15, February.
    4. Clay, Karen & Lewis, Joshua & Severnini, Edson, 2019. "What explains cross-city variation in mortality during the 1918 influenza pandemic? Evidence from 438 U.S. cities," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 42-50.
    5. Dora L. Costa & Heather DeSomer & Eric Hanss & Christopher Roudiez & Sven E. Wilson & Noelle Yetter, 2017. "Union Army veterans, all grown up," Historical Methods: A Journal of Quantitative and Interdisciplinary History, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 50(2), pages 79-95, April.

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