Elakartade enigmatiska epidemier. En komparativ studie rörande den geografiska komponentens betydelse för sjukdomsincidens och dödlighet i epidemiska sjukdomar 1750–1810
Malignant enigmatic epidemics. A comparative study on the role of the geographical component in disease incidence and mortality in epidemic diseases 1750-1810.
The primary objective of this study has been to investigate whether geographical localization can be argued to be of significance for a communitys predispositon to suffer epidemic outbreaks and furthermore, to evaluate what possible repercussions this may have on overall mortality over time. To enable such a study, a tentative presumption has been made, upon which a hypothesis subsequently has been formulated. This hypothesis asserts the idea that societys located along prominent fairways plausibly should have been more susceptible to epidemic disease outbreaks, compared to communities located in other types of environments. To put this hypothesis to the test eight parishes located in different parts of Sweden has been selected, including two parishes located along the prominent swedish river Göta älv, two parishes located in Småland, two parishes located in Skåne and two parishes located in Dalarna. Regarding which epidemic diseases that are to be examined a limitation has been done including dysentery, smallpox, epidemic fevers and whooping cough. Furthermore a limitiation in time has been conducted to include the years 1750-1810. Based on two variables in the form of incidence and relative mortality in relation to total mortality in the aforementioned diseases, this hypothesis has subsequently been put to the test. Initially quantiative method has been utilized in order establish a reliable statistical basis for further analysis. Regarding source material, the main source for collection of data has consisted of burial records orginated from the investigated parishes church archives, and to some extent Tabellverket. Thereafter, based on the aforementioned variables incidence and relative mortality, comparative method has been used in order to elucidate and evaluate any potential differences between the parishes in terms of disease incidence and mortality patterns. The outcome of the study indicate that the parishes located in the vicinity of Göta älv display the highest incidence levels for all the examined disease categories with the exception of whooping cough where they exhibit the second highest incidence levels. This is clearly manifested when taking into account the share all four examined diagnoses make up of the total death tolls during the investigated period. The probability of dying from one of the four investigated diseases is significantly higher among the parishes located in the vicinity of Göta Älv with an average value of 34.7 percent. This should be contrasted with the parishes located in Småland with an average value of 25.4 percent, the parishes located in Dalarna with an average value of 24.6 percent and finally the parishes located in Skåne with an average value of 24.4 percent. Hence the evidence suggests that there in fact seems to be a correlation between a communitys proximity to prominents fairways like Göta älv and an increased susceptibility to suffer outbreaks of epidemic disease. Consequently, all aspects considered, the hypothesis underlying this thesis can be argued to remain relevant.