{ subscribe_url:'//blogs.loc.gov/share/sites/library-of-congress-blogs/inside_adams.php' }

1918 Flu and COVID-19: What Can We Learn From The Past, Jan 27 webinar

Announcement written by Tomoko Y. Steen, PhD. and Ashley Cuffia, MLS, MS, Science Reference Section, ST&B Division.

The Library’s Health Services and Science, Technology & Business Divisions will be hosting the virtual panel discussion “1918 Flu and COVID-19: What Can We Learn from the Past?” on Wednesday, January 27th at 10 a.m. EST.  The event is open to Library employees and the public. Registration is required and limited to 1,000 participants.

Preparing anti-toxin for “flu” sufferers. Prints & Photographs Division, Library of Congress. //loc.gov/pictures/resource/cph.3c19259/

According to scientists, the 1918 flu first appeared in the United States at Camp Funston army base in Kansas. Due to the pandemic breaking out during WWI, information about its spread was strictly controlled by the government, not only in the U.S., but also in many other countries involved in WWI.  Spain, which stood as a neutral country during the war, openly reported the progress of outbreaks, and for this reason, the 1918 flu was referred to as the  “Spanish flu.”  There were a total of four separate waves of this flu that spread throughout the world. From February 1918 to April 1920, over 500 million people were infected across the globe, or one third of the World’s population, and an estimated 20-50 million people died.

The strain which caused this influenza pandemic was the H1N1 influenza A virus. Identifying the source of the microbes, or being able to identify if it was caused by virus or bacteria was hard in 1918 due to the limited technology that was available.  Panelist Dr. Jeffrey Taubenberger and his team at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) were the first to identify and sequence these strains. Panelist Professor Marc Lipsitch from Harvard Medical School also led an investigation to determine the infectious mechanisms of the 1918 flu. Unlike many other pandemics, including COVID-19, the 1918 flu mostly impacted the young, healthy working populations in the 18-35 age range.

By thoroughly studying our past pandemics, we will be able to organize public health measures, create treatment plans, and develop vaccines to combat and curb the current pandemic and those that could occur in the future. Public participation in this effort is crucial. For this reason, the Health Services Office and the Science, Technology & Business Division at the Library of Congress have invited these experts to discuss what we can learn from the 1918 flu and other influenza outbreaks to aid in managing the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Resources

Library of Congress

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Food and Drug Administration

National Institutes of Health

World Health Organization

During this session there will be limited time for questions. Attendees are encouraged to submit questions for the panelists in advance using the Ask a Librarian: Science & Technical Reports service. When submitting a question, please indicate that it is for the January 27th webinar.

Registration is required.

Individuals requiring accommodations for any of these events are requested to submit a request at least five business days in advance by contacting (202) 707-6362 or [email protected].

One Comment

  1. Lance Manning
    January 25, 2021 at 7:39 pm

    Friend of Dr. Steen

Add a Comment

This blog is governed by the general rules of respectful civil discourse. You are fully responsible for everything that you post. The content of all comments is released into the public domain unless clearly stated otherwise. The Library of Congress does not control the content posted. Nevertheless, the Library of Congress may monitor any user-generated content as it chooses and reserves the right to remove content for any reason whatever, without consent. Gratuitous links to sites are viewed as spam and may result in removed comments. We further reserve the right, in our sole discretion, to remove a user's privilege to post content on the Library site. Read our Comment and Posting Policy.

Required fields are indicated with an * asterisk.