Saturday, March 22, 2008

There's Only So Much Blue Can Do

So what deadly substance is the hermetically sealed man holding? Hepatitis? Typhoid? Meningitis? No, he has actual live virus of the strain that caused the influenza epidemic of 1918. In that year the Spanish Flu killed more than 500,000 people in the United States and up to 50 million worldwide. Dr. Terrence Tumpey re-created the virus in order to discover just how it killed so many people so quickly. Many died within the first few days of the infection. So we don't mess with the flu, people. We can't all be issued blue duds and our own air supply. Although you do wonder about his ears...

Books on the Spanish Flu and Other Epidemics
Epidemics and pandemics : their impacts on human history by J. N. Hays
Influenza 1918 : the worst epidemic in American history by Lynette Iezzoni ;
Plagues & poxes : the impact of human history on epidemic disease by Alfred Jay Bollet.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Public Health Image Library.

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