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To quantify age-specific excess-mortality rates and transmissibility patterns for the 1918–20 influenza pandemic in Boyacá, Colombia, we reviewed archival mortality records. We identified a severe pandemic wave during October 1918–January1919 associated with 40 excess deaths per 10,000 population. The age profile for excess deaths was W shaped; highest mortality rates were among infants (age), followed by elderly persons (>60 y) and young adults (25–29 y). Mean reproduction number was estimated at 1.4–1.7, assuming 3- or 4-day generation intervals. Boyacá, unlike cities in Europe, the United States, or Mexico, experienced neither a herald pandemic wave of deaths early in 1918 nor a recrudescent wave in 1920. In agreement with reports from Mexico, our study found no death-sparing effect for elderly persons in Colombia. We found regional disparities in prior immunity and timing of introduction of the 1918 pandemic virus across populations.


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Chowell G, Viboud C, Simonsen L, Miller MA, Acuna-Soto R, Ospina Díaz JM, et al. The 1918–19 influenza pandemic in Boyacá, Colombia. Emerg Infect Dis. 2012 Jan.

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