The Dittrick Medical History Center & Museum will continue its Conversations series next month with a talk titled “Edge of Disaster: Vaccines and Epidemics.”
Held Thursday, Jan. 21, at 6:30 p.m. in the Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities in Clark Hall, Room 206, the event will include a 15-minute talk with W. Henry Boom, professor and vice chair for research in the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine’s Department of Medicine, and Andrew Heffron from the Cuyahoga County Board of Health; a mini-discussion with Boom; and a public roundtable discussion about epidemics and vaccines, past and present.
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 U.S.—provide a glimpse not only of an epidemic’s power but of people’s private terrors. History shows 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, diphtheria or even polio? 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?
Find out Jan. 21 during the Dittrick Center’s Conversations series.