Book: The Forgotten 1918 Influenza Pandemic in the Dutch East Indies



The book entitled The Forgotten Influenza Pandemic of 1918 in the Dutch East Indies was written by Priyanto Wibowo et al. with the aim of re-exposing the Influenza 18 pandemic outbreak and its impact on the Dutch East Indies. As a country in a strategic region, it will be and remains vulnerable to the effects of a pandemic. This research states that this country has various entry points for outbreaks of epidemics.

 

The government has an important role in the policy-making process in handling it. Community understanding needs to be increased so that the epidemic is quickly resolved and does not spread further. The spread of the plague seemed to be history repeating itself. In March 2009, a new disease called swine flu (swine influenza) spread, which was caused by a type A virus with subtype H1N1 (A-H1N1/2009).

 

In the Indonesian context, the spread of this virus is a cause for concern. The plague that initially infected birds began to attack humans. Indonesia is listed as the country with the most severe infection. In an effort to control the outbreak, the Indonesian government and various partners developed the National Indonesia Pandemic Preparedness and Response Plan (National Plan for Preparedness and Response).

 

Concerns are related to the ongoing influenza pandemic, which could be the worst in the 20th century. Unfortunately, however, the available explanations for the 1918 influenza pandemic only pertain to what happened in the United States, Europe, and other major countries. Literature about what happened in Indonesia (Dutch East Indies) in 1918 is almost nonexistent.

 

A historical explanation of what happened in the Dutch East Indies in 1918 is needed to answer some questions about how humans dealt with pandemic influenza. Recurring events have always occurred since ancient times, including the repeated appearance of disease outbreaks.

Priyanto Wibowo et al.'s book consists of three main parts. In the first part of this book, researchers want to describe the 1918 influenza pandemic globally. So, in chapter one, the researcher describes the beginning of the emergence of influenza in 1918 until it spread throughout the world. The majority of researchers draw the conclusion that the 1918 influenza pandemic originated in the United States. The spread of this disease to Europe coincided with the sending of US troops to Europe in World War I. The United States troops quickly infected the French and British troops in Spain. However, the countries involved in the war censored news that was considered to be undermining troop morale.

 

Spain, as a neutral country in the war, did not censor any news. This outbreak was first publicized by the Spanish press. Since then, this outbreak has been called the Spanish flu, not the American flu, the country that recorded the first victims, or the French flu, as the area that first recorded a widespread outbreak.

 

The estimated number of victims due to this pandemic is estimated to be between 20 and 50 million people. The author questions the large number of victims given the world's conditions at that time. The occurrence of war made the census and community data collection not go well. In addition, public health service facilities are not as good as they are today, so patient and disease data are certain to be inaccurate.

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