AUTHORITIES TRY TO IDENTIFY GERM THAT CLAIMED VICTIMS ON SHIP
Cases in Brooklyn Do Not Indicate It Was “Spanish Influenza” — May Be Pneumonia
Efforts are being made today to isolate and identify the germ of the disease which swept through the Norwegian passenger liner Bergensfjord arriving Monday, claiming 200 victims, resulting in the death of four at sea, of one after landing here in Brooklyn, and the serious illness of nine, now in the Norwegian Hospital in South Brooklyn.
Whether the disease is really the “Spanish influenza,” which has ravaged the whole of Europe in the last few months, it is as yet impossible to determine.
Is it the Spanish Flu?
Passengers who survived it on the stricken ship, and who observed its progress in Europe declare that the Spanish epidemic is actually here. Physicians who have the care of the nine patients in the Norwegian Hospital, however, say that thus far they have observed nothing to indicate anything but ordinary grippe and pneumonia.
Mrs. Jensine Olsen of 1809 Stone street, Flint, Mich., was the most seriously afflicted of those brought ashore to the Norwegian Hospital. She died without regaining consciousness. Her illness was diagnosed by two of the hospital physicians as pneumonia.
Of the other nine brought to the hospital, more than half are apparently ill with pneumonia, the others appear to have ordinary grippe.
What we know now
Dr. Edward E. Cornwall of 1218 Pacific street, visiting physician at the hospital, who has the nine patients in his care, said that all of them are doing fairly well today, and that tests are being pushed as rapidly as possible to identify the germ of their ailment.
“We have very little data concerning the so-called Spanish influenza to go on,” he said. “All of our information comes from press dispatches, which are meager. So far as we are able to tell now, none of these patients have anything but the well-known forms of grippe and pneumonia.”
Terror on-board a Norwegian passenger liner
Pneumonia broke out on the ship four days out of Christiania. Officers believed that it was brought on board at Bergen by a third-class woman passenger who came from Finland. She died and was buried at sea.
An assistant cook, who looked after third-class passengers, took ill and also died.
Two other third-class passengers died, and soon the epidemic spread through the whole steerage.
The last two to die were buried at sea near Halifax.
The weather was warm when the vessel sailed, but she ran into a spell of winter cold, which aggravated the situation. The ship’s medical force was unable to cope with the situation. The disease appeared to attack those who had been under nourished before they came on board.
The vessel is to be thoroughly fumigated before she puts to sea again.
The Brooklyn Eagle survived the pandemic and is still around. Read today’s news from Brooklyn in the Brooklyn Eagle.
Photo, National Archives