1918 ‘Spanish flu’ linked to increased risk of stillbirth in Switzerland

Redacción Ciencia, 16 August (EFE) – The so-called Spanish flu (1918-1919), the worst epidemic of the last century, was linked to a higher risk of babies born with low birth weight or stillborn, a study suggests. Data from a Swiss hospital.

The journal Pos One published a study led by the University of Zurich that analyzed data on mothers and newborns from the Bern Maternal and Children’s Hospital between 1880 and 1900 and between 1914 and 1922.

Although factors affecting neonatal health are multifaceted, these registries revealed a marked increase in low birthweight and stillbirths during and after the pandemic, in a pattern similar to that recently observed for covid-19.

The research team says the study is yet another example showing that the worst epidemics of the last century were associated with an increased risk of stillbirth and low birth weight.

“This motivates us to better prepare for future epidemics to mitigate their impact on maternal and newborn health,” the researchers wrote.

The study noted that 1918 and 1919, the years of the “Spanish flu” outbreak, saw a significant increase in the incidence of low birth weight.

In addition, mothers who were highly exposed to pandemic influenza during pregnancy were also at increased risk of stillbirth depending on the date of pregnancy and the infection rate at the time.

However, the data in the dataset on influenza infection during pregnancy were too imprecise to draw conclusions at the individual level.Effie


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