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Major Illnesses

Serious infections continued in the early post-kingdom period, as is evident in the following chronology, but with no reliable, readily available data on the numbers or proportions of pure and part- Hawaiians involved. The population figures cited above provide only rough guidelines for such speculative inferences.

  • In 1895, with the oligarchical Provisional Government succeeded by the oligarchical Republic of Hawaii, cholera swept through Honolulu and killed 64. 106/
  • In 1899, the bubonic plague took 61 lives. With the turn of the year, fire to control the plague-carrying rodents destroyed Chinatown in Honolulu, awakening public concern for the residual "filth, squalor...homeless, destitute and incurables," including more victims with tuberculosis that for the first time became reportable. 107/
  • In 1901, when the Honolulu Home for the Incurables (forerunner of Leahi Hospital) opened, 32 of the first 72 patients had tuberculosis. 108/
  • In 1903, when 900 known cases of tuberculosis were identified, about 32 percent were native Hawaiians. 109/ From 1900 to 1923, tuberculosis remained the number one reported "cause of death," with mortality as high as 200 per 1,000 population. The corresponding U.S. mainland tuberculosis mortality rate was declining from 152 to 92 per 1,000. By 1937, although TB mortality rates for all races in Hawaii had fallen to 88 per 1,000, the rates for pure Hawaiians remained high at 265 and for part-Hawaiians at 126, while the rate for whites was 23 per 1,000. 110/
  • In 1918-1920, the post-World War I influenza pandemic accounted for 1,700 deaths in Hawaii. 111/ During the war years, venereal disease became reportable. 112/
  • In 1919, typhoid killed 42. 113/ In this year, the leading reported "causes of death" were influenza-pneumonia, tuberculosis, and diarrheas. 114/
  • In 1920, leprosy still claimed 662 active hospital cases at Kalaupapa, with 114 new cases for the year, the majority native Hawaiians. 115/ Not until sulfone chemotherapy in 1946 did the mortality rate drop from 10 percent to 2.5 percent per year. 116/ By 1974, there were only 13 active cases of leprosy, but over 100 deformed and disabled mainly Hawaiians, with the kidney, nerve, skin, nasal, oral, facial, and limb complications of this dreaded disorder. 117/ The 29 new leprosy cases for that year were chiefly in immigrant non-Hawaiians. 118/
  • In 1928-1929, acute meningitis accounted for 68 deaths. 119/
  • In 1930, for the first time, heart diseases displaced infections as the leading reported "cause of death." 120/
  • In 1936-1937, measles deaths numbered 205. 121/