Influenza/Measles Epidemic at Beauval School


During the winter of 1936-1937, the Beauval Residential School suffered from an epidemic of influenza and measles. According to Bishop Lajeunesse, the epidemic "started in Beauval and struck almost all the population." He goes on to say that the school and the rectory were converted into hospitals. The bishop claims that 60 people died of the outbreak in the locality before the epidemic moved north and struck Ile-a-la-Crosse, Buffalo River, and Portage La Loche.

Instances of disease epidemics were common in Residential Schools and reflected a widespread pattern of disease and poor health in institutions. Mortality rates in Residential Schools were disproportionately high compared to Euro-Canadian populations, this reflected the poor living conditions in Residential Schools - poor ventilation, poor hygiene, poor quality food, and a hostile social environment were all factors in the rapid spread of disease in schools.