An exact report of the geographic distribution of the pandemic of 1889-90 over the earth will be given at the conclusion of this section.
The great rapidity with which pandemic influenza becomes disseminated over countries is remarkable. In this respect there is no other infectious disease comparable with it, and yet this rapidity of spread is not, as some have thought, any faster than our speediest methods of communication, the railroad and the ocean steamship.
As in earlier epidemics, so also now, although we are better informed as to the nature of infectious diseases, we have been astounded by the rapidity with which influenza spread itself from Russia over the whole of Europe, and the suddenness and extent of the outbreak among the populace. Impressed by these remarkable features of the disease, at the outbreak of the epidemic of 1889 prominent physicians discarded the opinion that influenza spread by contagion, and accepted a miasma as a pathogenic agent which distributed itself through the air over vast territories.
This alone seemed to offer an explanation of the rapidity of distribution and the simultaneous infection of the masses. Influenza appeared as if wafted by the winds: "It suddenly hovered over a district like the shadow of a cloud." M. Colin in 1889 gave his opinion in the Paris'Academy as follows: "The grip is independent of any kind of human intercourse; it travels through densely populated districts and uninhabited regions with the same rapidity as light and electricity." Another favorite comparison was that with the Krakatoa eruption (1883). Just as the volcanic dust from this eruption was disseminated throughout the highest altitudes and distributed itself over a large part of the earth, so influenza was supposed to have originated in Russia in an explosive manner, and to have sown its germs in the air over the entire earth. At the present time no one thinks of such comparisons, for the accurate study of the manner of the dissemination of our last pandemic has proved beyond doubt that the rapidity of distribution was nowhere greater than the rapidity of our most speedy means of transportation. But it is on this account that the latest influenza pandemic has traveled with much greater rapidity than any of its predecessors.
This may be seen by a glance at the following table, which is arranged to show the chronology of the epidemic of 1830-31, compiled according to months. For comparison a second column, showing some localities affected in the last pandemic, is added.
First month......... Moscow. St. Petersburg, Moscow, Courland,
Second month....... Russia. Berlin, Paris, Vienna, Sweden,
Third month........ St. Petersburg. London, Holland, Belgium, the
Balkan States, North America.
Fourth month....... Courland and Livonia. Cape of Good Hope, Egypt, Honolulu, Mexico, Japan, Hong-Kong.
Fifth month......... Warsaw. San Francisco, Buenos Aires, India, Sierra Leone, Scilly Islands.
Sixth month........ East Prussia and Silesia. Chile, Kamerun, Zanzibar, Basutoland, Tasmania.
Seventh month...... Germany, Finland, Den- British Bechuanaland, Barbados.
Eighth month....... Paris, Belgium, Sweden, Gold Coast, Natal.
England, Scotland. Ninth month........ Switzerland. Trinidad.
Tenth month........ Italy. Iceland, Madagascar, Shire" plateau, entire China, Senegal. Eleventh month..... Spain, North America. Katunga, Kashmir.