The recent outbreak of Ebola in parts of Africa–and the frightened posts and live-tweets that accompanied two infected health workers as they returned to the US–give us a glimpse not only of an epidemic’s power but of our private terrors. Self-preservation, fear of the unknown, and a desire to protect the boundaries of nations, persons, bodies and cells brings out the best and worst in us. History History provides both sides; the uninfected locked up with the infected in 14th century plague houses, left to starve and suffer in the dark–or doctors like Cleveland’s Horace Ackley, who personally combated and contained an outbreak of Asiatic cholera in Sandusky in 1849. What finally stopped deadly scourges like smallpox, which brought Cleveland to its knees in 1903, or Diphtheria, once a death sentence for young children, or even Polio, the great crippler? Vaccines. And yet, vaccines remain a hotly debated topic even today. What motivates people to vaccinate–or not? How prepared are we for the next “disaster”? And what can history tell us about the fight to end outbreak?
Brandy Schillace, Dittrick Research Associate, author and recent TEDx speaker will present a short historical talk about vaccines and epidemics (then and now), followed by a discussion with W. Henry Boom, MD, Professor, Vice Chair for Research, CWRU Department of Medicine and Director, Tuberculosis Research Unit, and Andrew Heffron, RN, Cuyahoga County Board of Health, and an open dialogue for and by the public.
This event is part of the Dittrick Medical History Center’s “Conversations” series which invites the community to “join the conversation.”
Free and open to the public.
Click HERE to see a recording of the event.