Nonpharmaceutical Interventions Implemented by US Cities during the 1918-1919 Influenza Pandemic

In 2006, the Center for the History of Medicine was contacted by the US Centers for Disease Control and Migration and asked to conduct a joint research study into the use of social distancing and community mitigation efforts by American cities during the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic.  The Center examined 43 American cities and their experience with and fight against the pandemic.  Melding historical data and statistical analysis, our research found a strong association between early, layered, and sustained application of non-pharmaceutical interventions and mitigating the consequences of the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic in the United States.  As a result, our paper recommended that such community mitigation efforts be implemented in the event of a novel viral pandemic as companion measures to the development of effective vaccines and medications.  This study, along with others that supported our conclusions, became the basis for the CDC’s pandemic response guidelines.

Our groundbreaking study was published in August 2007 in the Journal of the American Medical Association and is freely available for download here:

Please note that the link to the supplemental materials in the online version of the paper is no longer functioning.  To download the supplemental material, please use the following links:

JAMA NPI Paper Supplemental Figures

JAMA NPI Paper Supplement Figure Legends

JAMA NPI Paper Supplemental Bibliography