New paper out: “Influenza risk groups in Norway by education and employment status”

The new paper is published in Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, see here:



This study aimed to estimate the size of the risk group for severe influenza and to describe the social patterning of the influenza risk group in Norway, defined as everyone ⩾65 years of age and individuals of any age with certain chronic conditions (medical risk group).


Study data came from a nationally representative survey among 10,923 individuals aged 16–79 years. The medical risk group was defined as individuals reporting one or more relevant chronic conditions. The associations between educational attainment, employment status, age and risk of belonging to the medical risk group were studied with logistic regression.


Nearly a fifth (19.0%) of respondents reported at least one chronic condition, while 29.4% belonged to the influenza risk group due to either age or chronic conditions. Being older, having a low educational level (comparing compulsory education to higher education, odds ratio (OR)=1.4, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.2–1.8 among women, and OR=1.3, 95% CI 1.1–1.7 among men) and a weaker connection to working life (comparing disability pension to working full-time, OR=6.8, 95% CI 5.3–8.7 among women, and OR=6.5, 95% CI 4.9–8.5 among men) was associated with a higher risk of belonging to the medical risk group for severe influenza.


This study indicates that the prevalence of medical risk factors for severe influenza is disproportionally distributed across the socio-economic spectrum in Norway. These results should influence both public funding decisions regarding influenza vaccination and communication strategies towards the public and health professionals.

Spring Webinar Series

We are delighted to announce the spring webinar series. All talks will be held Thursdays at 1600 CET unless otherwise noted. Please contact if you need a link.

27 January: Christina Torjussen, University of South-Eastern Norway and PANSOC, “Kong Sverre – The Death Ship.”

3 February: Chinmay Tumbe, Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, “India and 1918 Influenza Pandemic: Mortality Estimates and Correlates.”

10 February: Binoy Kampmark, RMIT University Melbourne, “‘Killing cockroaches with a nuclear weapon’: The Victorian Pandemic Management Bill.”

24 February, 1400 CET: David Roth, The Australian National University, “The effects of the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic on mental patients in New South Wales – Work-In-Progress.”

10 March: Tamara Giles-Vernick, Institut Pasteur: “Complex local vulnerabilities and the COVID-19 pandemic in France.” (Rescheduled from fall)

17 March: Margarida Pereira, PANSOC, “The 2020 Syndemic of Obesity and COVID-19 in an Urbanized World.”

31 March: Lianne Tripp, University of Northern British Columbia: “The 1918/19 Influenza: Hidden Heterogeneity in an Island Population.” (Rescheduled from fall)

7 April: Amanda Wissler, University of South Carolina & Cleveland Museum of Natural History, “The Long-Term Impacts of Pandemic Disease: Health and Survival after the 1918 Influenza Pandemic.”

21 April: Jord Hanus, University of Antwerp, “Socioeconomic Status and Epidemic Mortality in an Urban Environment: Mechelen (Belgium), 1600-1900”

28 April: Vibeke Narverud Nyborg, University of South-Eastern Norway and PANSOC, The exploration of state health legislations as possible driving forces to non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) during the 1918 pandemic in different Norwegian regions.”

5 May: Ben Schneider, TBA

12 May: Carolyn Orbann, University of Missouri, “Co-circulating respiratory diseases at the end of the 1918 influenza pandemic.”

New paper out: Pandemics are not great equalizers

In this invited paper for the 75 years of Population Studies diamond anniversary special issue, Svenn-Erik Mamelund and Jessica Dimka discuss the mechanisms (differential exposure, susceptibility, and consequences) underlying the mortality and morbidity disparities by socio-economic status and race/ethnicity in the 1918 flu and COVID-19 pandemics, emphasizing the tendency of pandemics to inflate pre-existing health disparities through these means. The authors use both historical and contemporary data and they make the case for thinking about the reduction of health disparities as an important pandemic preparedness strategy. Read full paper here:

Full article: Not the great equalizers: Covid-19, 1918–20 influenza, and the need for a paradigm shift in pandemic preparedness (

Hvorfor døde så mange på Kong Sverre under spanskesyken?

Historiestudent Christina Torjussen - foto privat

Christina Stylegar Torjussen er masterstudent ved Universitetet i Sørøst-Norge med Ole Georg Moseng som veileder, og Christina er også assosiert med PANSOC på OsloMet – Oslo Metropolitan University. Hun skriver en svært spennede masteroppgave om utbrudd av spanskesyken på Kong-Sverre hvor andelen av de syke rekruttene som døde var 27 prosent mens samme andelen blant unge voksne sivile var 2 prosent. Les mer her:

Skriv masteroppgåve om «dødsskipet» i Horten – Universitetet i Sørøst-Norge (

Final webinar of the semester

Join us December 16 at 1600 CET to hear John Eicher present “A Digital History Approach to Analyzing Memories of the 1918 Flu Pandemic.” (contact if you need a link)

Humanistic accounts of the 1918 influenza pandemic generally fall under two categories: socio-cultural histories that rely on journalistic and artistic sources and political/administrative histories that rely on government and bureaucratic sources. Both approaches overwhelmingly focus on urban populations and are framed at the regional or national levels. Working with a collection of nearly 1,000 first-hand accounts of the 1918 flu gathered from across 10 countries, my project, “The Sword Outside, the Plague Within,” aims to be the first transnational socio-cultural history of the pandemic in the European context. This presentation provides an overview of the digital tools and methods that I am using to gather data from the letters, and it demonstrates how researchers can use quantitative digital history techniques for qualitative analysis.

John Eicher is an Assistant Professor of Modern European History at Pennsylvania State  University at Altoona. Focusing on the comparative and transnational, his research focuses on the movements of people and diseases around the world. His current project, “The Sword Outside, the Plague Within: The 1918 Influenza Pandemic in Europe,” compares the cultural impact of the 1918 flu across ten European countries using over 1,000 first-hand survivors’ accounts. This work was supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, Penn State University and the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies, where he served as a Marie S. Curie Junior Fellow during the 2020-21 academic year.