|This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.|
Find sources: "Great Smog of London" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (July 2019) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Nelson's Column during the Great Smog
|Date||5–9 December 1952|
|up to 12,000 dead|
|100,000 medical conditions|
There was no panic, as London was infamous for its fog. In the weeks that ensued, however, statistics compiled by medical services found that the fog had killed 4,000 people. Most of the victims were very young or elderly, or had pre-existing respiratory problems. In February 1953, Marcus Lipton suggested in the House of Commons that the fog had caused 6,000 deaths and that 25,000 more people had claimed sickness benefits in London during that period.
Mortality remained elevated for months after the fog. A preliminary report, never finalized, blamed those deaths on an influenza epidemic. Emerging evidence revealed that only a fraction of the deaths could be from influenza. Most of the deaths were caused by respiratory tract infections, from hypoxia and as a result of mechanical obstruction of the air passages by pus arising from lung infections caused by the smog. The lung infections were mainly bronchopneumonia or acute purulent bronchitis superimposed upon chronic bronchitis.
More recent research suggests that the number of fatalities was considerably greater than contemporary estimates, at about 12,000.