Between the years of 1918 and 1919 Canada was swept by an epidemic of Spanish Influenza (Spanish Flu) which was brought into the country by veterans returning from combat at the end of World War I (WWI). Across the country approximately 50000 people died. The people living and farming around Kayville, Saskatchewan were not spared.
The victims of the Spanish Flu died quickly, some on the same day they first displayed symptoms. The cause of death was respiratory failure from some form of pneumonia (fluid in the lungs).
The Spanish Flu is thought to have killed between 3% and 6% of the entire world population at the time. Even though the state of science and medicine in 1918 was not able to do much against the virus doctors in many countries did manage to document a lot about it's spread and diagnosis.
Three Waves Struck
They believed that the virus spread in three waves with the virus possibly mutating between waves. While the first wave struck in the spring of 1918 it only had a mortality rate of 0.2%, or about twice that of a more usual influenza at 0.1%. By the autumn of 1918 the virus mutated into it's most deadly form and the mortality rate skyrocketed to around 30%. The third wave which spread through 1919 was presumably a mutation that was not as deadly and one that encountered a population that had developed a degree of immunity thanks to surviving the previous two waves. Death rates during the third wave plummeted to more 'expected' rates for an influenza epidemic.
Kayville Area Deaths
Examining deaths in the Kayville area (See also Kayville Burials (1910-2015)) it is easy to see a severe spike in the death rate for 1918. While averages for the period would project that about 11 people would have died in 1918, the number of deaths recorded was instead 36. The majority of the deaths recorded were babies and children. For such a small community the deaths must have been completely devastating. Everyone in the region either lost someone or knew multiple people who had.
I expect that the death rate in the region was much higher. I have only compiled lists of deaths from grave markers and unofficial records of deaths and burials from three area churches (St. Mary's Romanian Orthodox Church, St. Peter and Paul Romanian Orthodox Church and Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Church). In the wider region there would have been more deaths and some deaths may have escaped being recorded in the data I have collected so far.
Assuming an average area death rate of 11 people per year during that period we can assume that around 25 of the 47 dead (1918-1919) might have died of Spanish flu.
The 47 dead from the Kayville area in 1918 and 1919
See also: Kayville Burials (1910-2015)