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Epidemic Impacts On Mail

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Pillar Of The Community
United States
977 Posts
Posted 03/01/2020   11:39 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add GregAlex to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
With COVID-19 dominating the headlines, I've been thinking about how it may eventually impact global mail, and whether some countries may be embargoed.

And I wondered if anyone had historical philatelic examples of previous epidemics, such as the 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic. I have one more recent not-very-philatelic example. As it happens, I was in China right at the start of the SARS epidemic in 2003. As I was flying back to the US out of Beijing I remember seeing nearly everyone wearing face masks in the airport. Turns out the Rolling Stones had planned a major concert in Beijing, which had to be cancelled. I snagged a promotional postcard as a souvenir, but didn't have a chance to mail it. Here it is...






Anyone have something similar to share?
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Pillar Of The Community
1067 Posts
Posted 03/03/2020   01:47 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Kimo to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
In the US alone, during the 2018/2019 flu season the Centers for Disease Control estimated that 42.9 million Americans got sick with one of the flu strains, 647,000 people were hospitalized and 61,200 died. There was no impact to the mail because of this. There also was no irrational panic like social media is working hard to stir up with the coronavirus. Also, these types of viruses are not spread by mail. You need to be in close proximity to an infected person and have their body fluids transferred to you such as through sneezing and coughing.
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Valued Member
United Kingdom
252 Posts
Posted 03/03/2020   09:27 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Noocassel to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I find it intriguing that of all the bugs and pathogens around there is no evidence of any surviving on the back of a stamp or being transmitted to a collector via a stamp in a collection. it,s reassuring regarding any illness that this doesn't occur.
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Pillar Of The Community
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2831 Posts
Posted 03/03/2020   09:30 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add John Becker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
I wondered if anyone had historical philatelic examples of previous epidemics, such as the 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic


There have been many instances of disinfecting and fumigating mail in the past, whether effective or not. Those from Mont Alto, PA are readily available. I would recommend a 70 page booklet "The Emmet F. Pearson Collection of Disinfected Mail" published by The Pearson Museum at Southern Illinois University in 1992.

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Pillar Of The Community
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4610 Posts
Posted 03/03/2020   09:42 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rogdcam to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The current Kelleher's Stamp Collector's Quarterly has an excellent article on fumigated mail, mosquitos were the issue, starting on page 18:

https://www.kelleherauctions.com/ma...htm#?page=18
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Pillar Of The Community
France, Metropolitan
2654 Posts
Posted 03/03/2020   10:45 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add perf12 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
COVID-19 (Coronavirus) does not survive long on objects, therefore it is safe to receive mail and parcels from China, without the risk of contracting the virus. The World Health Organization (WHO) has confirmed this.
Some parcels have arrived into NZ with a 'sterilized' label on them, these may be seen more frequently in the coming weeks. We believe that these may have been sterilized within China (either by the sender, or by China Post) to prevent the spread of the virus locally.
https://www.nzpost.co.nz/contact-su...mail-updates
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Pillar Of The Community
United States
977 Posts
Posted 03/03/2020   2:27 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add GregAlex to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I am also not aware of diseases being transferred via mail. But misperceptions can also cause impacts. Sometimes an "abundance of caution" is an impractical response.
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Pillar Of The Community
United States
782 Posts
Posted 03/03/2020   4:52 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add gettinold to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
GregAlex


In an earlier thread I'd posted a folded letter tied to the Yellow Fever epidemic that hit Norfolk, VA in 1855:

http://goscf.com/t/67983&whichpage=1






The cover is postmarked 06/19/1855 in Norfolk, VA. On this date the Steamer, Ben Franklin docked in the city with Yellow Fever cases on board. The author of the letter, Wilson B. Sorey, was a US Deputy Marshall. He was 37, married, and had 7 children. Within months of writing the letter he died of Yellow Fever. Two of his teenage sons also died of Yellow Fever during the epidemic that hit Norfolk that year.
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Bedrock Of The Community
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Australia
29760 Posts
Posted 03/03/2020   6:18 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rod222 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Australia
Notification of infectious disease
Abacus Auctions #229
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Valued Member
United States
37 Posts
Posted 03/03/2020   10:09 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add jossanders52 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Yesterday I mailed out some items I sold on eBay. I always use stamps on the mail and before, many times the post office clerk would lick the stamp.
Now the new procedure is putting a little glue from the glue stick on the back, cancelling the stamp and then put a strip of Scotts tape over the stamps to hold them tight on the envelop.
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Australia
29760 Posts
Posted 03/03/2020   10:17 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rod222 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Perforation Paddle : Disinfected mail.
https://postalmuseum.si.edu/collect...ation-paddle
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Bedrock Of The Community
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Australia
29760 Posts
Posted 03/03/2020   10:28 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rod222 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Further Reading:


================================================

RCSD 2005 (Links will probably not work)

Disinfected Mail

From the fourteenth to the early nineteenth century it was
common practice in many parts of Europe to disinfect mail
which had originated in or passed through an area considered
to be disease-infested, particularly the Middle East.

This was done by fumigating the letter through slits cut in
them, or by splashing or even immersion in vinegar. Each
country had its quarantine stations through which all mail
from abroad had to pass.

The system was in use in Britain from about 1671 to 1850.
Various disinfection markings were applied to mail thus
treated, but these are not postal markings in the true sense
since they were the responsibility of the public health
authorities and not the Post Office.

In the light of modern medical knowledge the practice of
disinfecting mail in this manner is now known to have
been almost completely pointless, but letters which show
signs of disinfection are keenly studied and collected by
postal history enthusiasts.

- R. J. Sutton 6th edition revised by K. W. Anthony
The Stamp Collector's Encyclopaedia
Published 1966

Notes:

GREECE 1847 DISINFECTED MAIL COVER
http://www.sastamps.com/7jl2007.jpg
note the disinfection hole on the back:
http://www.sastamps.com/7jl2007a.jpg


Austrian Levant 1900 Disenfected Mail to Egypt:
Picture Postcard of Triestie (Monumento Massimiliano),
bearing Austria Yvert 70, 10 heller red tied by Trieste
Lazzaretto Marittimo Triest Seelazareth double-ring
with Zefta arrival. Very Rare item of mail for the
disinfection specialist.
http://www.world-covers.com/pics/t2347.jpg


Bibliography of disinfected mail :
Includes books, pamphlets, articles (tear sheets)
that encompass this special interest. A search of
on-line booksellers under "Quarantine" will also
reveal a list of books which may be important
collateral histories of countries fighting the spread
of epidemics.

D'Agostino, Andrea W., Contagio [Italian].
A.I.S.P., Bolli e documenti di Sanita dell'Area Italiano, 1985
[Italian].
Carnevale and Guiges, Les Communicationes en Temps d'Epidemie
[French].
Davidson, Glen W., The Emmet F. Pearson Collection of Disinfected
Mail, 1992.
De Zanche, Luciano, Storia della Disinfezione Postale in Europa e
nell'Area
Mediterranea, 1997 [Italian].
Feuser, Peter, Deutsche Vorphilatelie, 1990 [German].
Galea, The Quarantine Service and Lazaretto of Malta
Green, Irving I., "Holocaust in Hawaii," The Collectors Club
Philatelist, Vol. 32 No. 1.
Guerrant, E. J., "Why are these Covers So Elusive?" WPL Tearsheet
#3922
Lane, Maryette, "Florida's Hellfire and Brimstone Mail,"
Weekly Philatelic Gossip, August 8 and 15, 1953.
Meyer, K. F., Disinfected Mail, 1962.
Meyer, K. F., "Historical Notes on Disinfected Mail," reprint from
Journal of
Nervous and Mental Disorders, Vol 116 No. 6, 1952.
Patton, Donald S., "Disinfected Mail," reprint from American
Philatelist, February 1953.
Sandrik, William A., "Disinfected Mail," American Philatelist, April
1986.
Sandrik, William A., "Plague Disinfection at New York in 1897,"
Postal History Journal, October 1981 and
"Addendum," Postal History Journal, June 1983.
Vandervelde and Garcia, Gibraltar Quarantine and Disinfection of Mail,
1994.

In addition to the above, the Disinfected Mail Study Circle [UK]
publishes
a quarterly journal, Pratique, devoted exclusively to disinfected mail.
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Bedrock Of The Community
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29760 Posts
Posted 03/03/2020   10:37 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rod222 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Circa 2004
Authors : Mr. Blair Stannard (Canada)
Mr. Jay Carrigan (USA)

A little research ....

http://starbulletin.com/2000/01/24/.../story1.html

shows that there was a bubonic plague epidemic in Honolulu
from 12 Dec 1899 - 30 April 1900.

An exact number of victims from the 1900 outbreak may
never be known. Judging from newspaper reports, an
astonishing number of citizens were simply dropping
dead in the streets, but exhibited no classic signs
of Black Death such as swollen lymph glands or
skin-blackening. These cases were filed as "consumption"
or "natural causes." However, the septicemic version
of bubonic plague acts so quickly the victim often
dies before symptoms can occur, and it's likely --
particularly in cases in which the victim was young
and healthy -- that many, if not most, of these deaths
were actually plague-related. And how do you classify
the Chinese girl who accidentally fell and crushed her
skull as she fled in fear of medical authorities?

According to a report published in the early 1930s,
337 people in Hawaii were known to have contracted
bubonic plague. Of these, 34 survived, a mortality
rate of 90 percent, which is high even for Black Death.

The last known human case of plague in the islands
was in 1947 in Kamuela, the last known rodent to have
it was captured in 1957, also in Kamuela. Vector
control authorities continue to routinely test for
plague among Honolulu's waterfront rodent population
because a new outbreak could occur at any time.

Blair (TC)

Bill Sandrik, the owner of Ballston Philatelics, is a
well-known exhibitor of disinfected mail (and other things).
At the Atlanta APS show this past weekend he had an exhibit
in the single frame Champion of Champions competition -
"Hawaiian Disinfected Mail".

Jay Carrigan change domain to mchsi
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Pillar Of The Community
United States
977 Posts
Posted 03/05/2020   12:11 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add GregAlex to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The Black Plague in Hawaii -- who knew! Fascinating story.
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Pillar Of The Community
United States
782 Posts
Posted 03/05/2020   6:07 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add gettinold to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Found mention of the Spanish Flu in two letters I have that were mailed by a soldier in the Canal Zone in 1918. In September 1918 the writer advises the recipient that he had contracted influenza and was sick for a week and had lost 12 pounds. In November 1918 the writer advises the recipient deaths from the flu are few and most deaths occur among soldiers who have just arrived from the US. It is estimated the total number of soldiers killed by the Spanish Flu was 45,000.

https://www.army.mil/article/210420..._world_war_i







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Pillar Of The Community
France, Metropolitan
2654 Posts
Posted 03/07/2020   07:29 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add perf12 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Interesting historical letter.A real keeper.

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