Next week, Mathias Mølbak Ingholt, a PhD student at PandemiX Center, Department of Science and Environment, Roskilde University, Denmark will present in our webinar series:
Occupational characteristics and spatial differences during an intermittent fever epidemic in early 19th century Denmark.
In the 1780’s, the high-mortality regime with frequent mortality shocks in the form of epidemics, famines and wars ended in Denmark. The 19th century is characterized as a century of declining infant- and child mortality, improving life expectancy and population growth. One event however contradicts this overall pattern: a mortality crisis in eastern Denmark that began in 1826 and ended in an explosive epidemic in the late summer and fall of 1831. In some villages, over 10% of the population died, and case fatality rates were as high as 60% some places. The epidemic began at the same time across larger geographical areas, and there is no traceable diffusion. In its time, it was labelled an “intermittent fever” epidemic – a diagnosis later associated with malaria. The theory of malaria has however been rebuked, and it has instead been suggested that it was a mass-infection of mold (Manniche, 1997). Despite being a demographic anomaly reminiscent of the high-mortality regime, the epidemic remains understudied by demographers. In this article, I study the spatial differences in mortality during the epidemic and the occupational characteristics of its victims.