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All cause mortality and morbidity from Influenza in the City and the Canton of Zurich, 1910-1970

For the LEAD Hub we digitized and analyzed the following historical demographic and epidemiological data for the city and the canton of Zurich the first time: Since the end of the 19th century, the Federal Health Office (Eidgenössisches Gesundheitsamt) published a weekly bulletin on vital statistics, newly reported cases of notifiable infectious diseases, and hospitalisations. For the period January 1910 to December 1970, we have digitized and transcribed the following weekly series: 

  1. Weekly deaths for residents and non-residents of the city of Zurich. The quality of these historical vital statistics is assessed to be very good in the literature, incompleteness and migration are no longer a problem as compared to earlier years. However, age-, sex- and cause-specific death numbers were not available on the weekly level. 
  2. Weekly newly reported cases of influenza-like-illness for the canton and the city of Zurich. This series begins with the introduction of the reporting obligation for influenza in the canton of Zürich in mid-July 1918. As these figures do not include mild cases not treated by a doctor and misdiagnoses, they are probably underestimates, but can still track pandemic and seasonal waves. The reporting system and obligation did not change in the observed time period.
  3. Weekly new hospitalisation due to influenza in the canton of Zurich. This series ends in 1938. 

The original data format in the weekly bulletins are printed, aggregated tables that have been converted into PDFs using a professional book scanner. Transcription of the data was performed by student assistants using a software and running extended quality-controls. The original tables were in German and French, the digitised data set was annotated in English.

The digitized data are organized as a spreadsheet and stored in csv format. The data are organized as rows (representing reporting weeks) and columns (see variable list below). For a few weeks, information in the original sources was missing (indicated by 1 in the “interpolated” variable). In these cases, the missing values were interpolated by averaging the numbers of the week before and the week afterwards. 


Worksheet "Data"

Worksheet "Population"

Funding sources: Stiftung für Wissenschaftliche Forschung (STWF) Universität Zürich; UZH UniGE Cofunds; Digitalisierungsinitative der Zürcher Hochschulen (DIZH)
Citation: Ziegler, E., Birkhölzer, I., Simola, J., Matthes, K., Floris, J., & Staub, K. (2023). All cause mortality and morbidity from Influenza in the City and the Canton of Zurich, 1910-1970 (1.0) [Data set]. Zenodo. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.7986584
PD Dr. Kaspar Staub kaspar.staub@iem.uzh.ch