The Disease That Helped Put Colorado on the Map

The Disease That Helped Put Colorado on the Map



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When John Henry “Doc” Holliday headed to Denver, Colorado, in 1882, he was escaping murder charges for his involvement in a shootout at the O.K. Corral. But he stayed in the state not for crime, but for the sake of his lungs. Holliday suffered from tuberculosis, and at the time everyone knew that Colorado was the best place for so-called “lungers” to rest and recover.

In the 1800s, tuberculosis was the nation’s leading cause of death. The “White Death” was much feared and little understood. Since there was no vaccine or antibiotic available to fight the disease, the only hope many tubercular patients had was to move from humid, stormy eastern locations in pursuit of the west’s drier, higher, sunnier skies—all of which Colorado had in abundance.

The influx of TB patients that streamed into Colorado helped put the state on the map. At its heyday as a consumption sanctuary, an estimated one in three Colorado residents suffered from tuberculosis, the state was home to an unusual number of physicians, and a third of all Colorado deaths were from TB compared to a national average of one in 10.

See all pandemic coverage here

Also known as consumption at the time, tuberculosis is caused by a bacterium that, when breathed in, can cause weakness, chest pain, coughing, shortness of breath and other symptoms. (Today, only three people per 100,000 suffers from TB in the United States.)

Previously, Colorado had been known as a haven for Wild West criminals and miners, thanks to a series of gold and silver rushes that made it an attractive destination for fortune hunters. But while its rudimentary towns and camps were rife with drunkenness, gambling, prostitution and crime, the negatives of Colorado’s unsavory reputation as an uncivilized, crude backwater were outweighed by the positives of its climate.

Physicians in the 19th and 20th centuries believed that fresh air, high altitudes and abundant sunshine could cure all kinds of ailments, and Colorado had plenty of all three. Although their beliefs about TB were not entirely medically sound, they were kind of right in this regard: Fresh air does prevent TB from spreading, and the high altitude stops TB bacteria from spreading as rapidly through the lungs. But at the time, doctors believed the contagious disease to be hereditary, and thought it was transmitted through the air instead of through physical contact.

Beginning in the 1860s, ill people began pouring into the future state to take the fresh air cure. Denver’s first facility for tubercular patients was built in 1860, just two years after the city was founded. Colorado Springs and Boulder soon followed suit, and entire cities began to spring up around TB treatment facilities.

These resort-like health spas were places to relax, rest and often die. They had names like Montcalm, Sunnyrest and Cragmor. Boulder’s most prominent sanitarium allowed “guests” to relax with health spa-like diets, view intricate oil paintings and listen to a live orchestra. The health hotels featured large porches on which wealthy guests could take in sun, breathe fresh air and enjoy mountain views. At the Hygiene House in the town of Hygiene—named after its resort—they sipped mineral water (thought to have curative properties), ate rare plants and sat outside for 10 hours a day, even during blizzards. The more opulent tuberculosis facilities even bred their own elite social scenes and attracted famous patients from all over the world.

Not everyone could afford these plush resorts, though, and some sanatoriums were little more than a collection of tents. Soon, Colorado had a homelessness problem brought on by desperate patients who bought one-way tickets even though they were unable to pay for treatment. In Denver, Francis Weisbart Jacobs founded an entire hospital, the National Jewish Hospital for Consumptives, to provide free treatment for those patients. (Today, the hospital is a leading research and treatment facility for lung-related ailments.)

When scientists discovered the TB bacterium in the 1880s, they did not yet realize that infection could only be spread by close contact with an infected patient’s breath. But the knowledge that TB was contagious made Coloradans increasingly suspicious of tubercular tourists. Spitting was outlawed and women were encouraged to shorten their skirts lest they spread the disease with dust from city streets.

TB patients were stigmatized in newspaper articles and public life. “TWO BROTHERS ARE INSANE,” blared one 1906 headline in the Denver Post. The article told of two “victims of the White Plague” who came to Denver from Cincinnati, lived in a tent, and grew increasingly weak. “When they were found in their squalid tent,” the reporter continued, “their condition was frightful.” The Colorado legislature even debated a law to require TB patients to wear bells around their necks.

Eventually, the TB epidemic—and the heyday of the consumption sanatorium—came to an end when, in the 1940s, antibiotics became an effective treatment for the disease. By then, tuberculosis had transformed Colorado. Places like Colorado Springs went from little-known backwaters to thriving cities, their streets and schools improved by bequests and gifts from wealthy patients. Lungers like Denver mayor Robert Speer and Senator Edwin Johnson left marks on the state’s infrastructure and national prominence. And many sanitariums morphed into the state’s most respected hospitals.

Colorado may no longer be known as the “World’s Sanatorium,” but it owes much of its modern prosperity to a now rare disease.

READ MORE: Pandemics That Changed History


CDC Releases Detailed History of the 2014-2016 Ebola Response in MMWR

This website is archived for historical purposes and is no longer being maintained or updated.

Press Release

Embargoed Until: Thursday, July 7, 2016, 1:00 p.m. ET
Contact: Media Relations
(404) 639-3286

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today will release a detailed account of the agency&rsquos work on the largest, longest outbreak response in the agency&rsquos history: the Ebola epidemic of 2014-2016. The series of articles, in a special supplement to CDC&rsquos Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), comes on the second anniversary of the official activation of the agency&rsquos emergency response to Ebola.

&ldquoThe Ebola epidemic in West Africa killed thousands and directly or indirectly harmed millions of people living in the region,&rdquo said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. &ldquoThe resilience of those affected the hard work by ministries of health and international partners and the dedication, hard work, and expertise of mission-driven CDC employees helped avoid a global catastrophe. We must work to ensure that a preventable outbreak of this magnitude never happens again.&rdquo

The 2014-2016 Ebola epidemic was the first and largest epidemic of its kind, with widespread urban transmission and a massive death count of more than 11,300 people in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. The epidemic took a devastating toll on the people of West Africa. Ending it took an extraordinary international effort in which the U.S. government played a major role.

CDC&rsquos response was directed simultaneously at controlling the epidemic in West Africa and strengthening preparedness for Ebola in the United States. The new MMWR Ebola special supplement primarily focuses on the agency&rsquos work during the first year and a half of the response. CDC activated its Emergency Operations Center (EOC) for the Ebola response on July 9, 2014. On August 5, 2014, CDC elevated the EOC to a Level 1 activation, its highest level. On March 31, 2016, CDC officially deactivated the EOC for the 2014-2016 Ebola response.

&ldquoThe world came together in an unprecedented way&mdashnations, organizations, and individuals&mdashto respond to this horrible epidemic,&rdquo said Inger Damon, M.D., Ph.D., who served as incident manager for the CDC Ebola response during its first eight months. &ldquoCDC staff performed heroically and were an integral part of the U.S. all-government response, which involved many other agencies and branches of government.&rdquo

By the end of the CDC 2014-2016 Ebola response on March 31, 2016, more than 3,700 CDC staff, including all 158 Epidemic Intelligence Service Officers, had participated in international or domestic response efforts. There were 2,292 total deployments to Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone and 3,544 total deployments overall (domestic and international) to support the response. Approximately 1,558 CDC responders have deployed to Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone since the start of the response in July 2014 to the close of the response at the end of March 2016 &ndash including 454 responders with repeat deployments. Even after the deactivation of the CDC 2014-2016 Ebola response, CDC continues its work to better understand and combat the Ebola virus and to assist Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone in the aftermath of the 2014-2016 Ebola epidemic currently, CDC staff remain in CDC country offices in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone to help support the Global Health Security Agenda.

Experience responding to approximately 20 Ebola outbreaks since 1976 provided CDC and other international responders with an understanding of the disease and how to stop its spread. But unlike those shorter, self-limited outbreaks, the 2014-2016 Ebola epidemic in West Africa presented new and formidable challenges.

&ldquoThis outbreak is a case study in why the Global Health Security Agenda is so important,&rdquo said Beth Bell, M.D., M.P.H., director of CDC&rsquos National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases. &ldquoBy the time the world understood there was an outbreak, it was already widespread &ndash and had ignited the world&rsquos first urban Ebola epidemic, with devastating results.&rdquo

This supplement tells the story of CDC&rsquos contributions and shows the importance of partnerships among the international community. Some of the key CDC key activities detailed in this supplement include:

  • In West Africa
    • Establishing CDC teams in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone that transitioned into permanent CDC country offices in support of the Global Health Security Agenda and supporting the incident management systems in each of the affected countries
    • Improving case detection and contact tracing maintaining infection control in Ebola treatment units and general health care facilities conducting detailed epidemiologic analyses of Ebola trends and transmission patterns
    • Promoting the use of safe and dignified burial services to help stop spread of Ebola
    • Fostering hope for a long-term solution for Ebola, including rollout of the STRIVE (Sierra Leone Trial to Introduce a Vaccine against Ebola) trial
    • Strengthening surveillance and response capacities in surrounding, at-risk countries, and working with international partners to establish exit and entry risk assessment procedures at borders
    • In the United States
      • Reducing the likelihood of spread of Ebola through travel, including working with federal and state health officials to establish entry risk assessment procedures
      • Establishing entry screening and monitoring of all travelers entering the U.S. from Ebola-affected areas
      • Assisting state health departments in responding to domestic Ebola concerns
      • Establishing trained and ready hospitals in the United States capable of safely caring for possible Ebola patients
      • Forming CDC Rapid Ebola Preparedness (REP) response teams that could provide assistance within 24 hours to a health care facility managing a patient with Ebola.
      • Identifying and distributing to state and local public health laboratories a laboratory assay that could reliably detect infection with the Ebola virus strain circulating in West Africa, and working with the Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Department of Defense, and the Association of Public Health Laboratories to rapidly introduce and validate the assay in public health laboratories across the United States
      • At CDC
        • Modeling, in real time, predictions for the course of the epidemic that helped galvanize international support and generated estimates on various topics related to the response in West Africa and the risk for importation of cases into the United States
        • Providing logistics support for the most ambitious CDC deployment in history
        • Supporting laboratory needs at CDC&rsquos Atlanta headquarters and transferring CDC laboratory expertise to the field
        • Creating risk communication materials designed to help change behavior, decrease rates of transmission, and confront stigma, in West Africa and the United States

        &ldquoThis outbreak highlighted how much more we have to learn about Ebola, and it demonstrated that all countries are connected. An outbreak in one country is not just a national emergency, but a global one. This supplement&rsquos detailed review of the 2014-2016 Ebola epidemic and CDC&rsquos response, with many partners, shows the importance of preparedness. It is vital that countries are ready to quickly detect and respond to infectious disease outbreaks, and the international community is committed to increasing that readiness through the Global Health Security Agenda,&rdquo Dr. Frieden said. &ldquoThrough our newly established country offices in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, CDC will continue to help West Africa prevent an outbreak of this magnitude from happening again.&rdquo


        You Live in Alabama. Here’s How You’re Going to Die.

        Two months ago, I wrote about the fun and the pitfalls of viral maps, a feature that included 88 simple maps of my own creation. Since then I’ve written up a bunch of short items on some of those maps, walking through how they can both illustrate great information and hide important details. At one point, I said I was done with these. Well, I wasn’t. Here’s another, on death. Enjoy!

        The data used to create the table below are from a 2008 CDC report that’s based on numbers from 2005. Ideally, we’d have more up-to-date information, but their page on mortality tables indicates that there’s nothing more recent on state-by-state causes of death.

        Data source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Map by Ben Blatt/Slate.

        The map above, included in the original interactive, showed the most common causes of death excluding heart disease and cancer. The reason for the exclusions was to create more geographic variation. Heart disease and cancer, the top two leading causes of deaths in every state, account for more deaths than the next eight causes of death combined

        Data source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Map by Ben Blatt/Slate.

        In these first two maps, we still only see five causes of death: heart disease, cancer, stroke, accidents, and respiratory diseases. Inspired by an unrelated map on regionalism in music preferences, I created a map in the original interactive that showed which cause (in the national top 10) affected each state at a rate most disproportionate to what one would expect based on the national rates. (I measured this using a ratio of state level rate to national rate, also known as the location quotient.)

        The 10 causes as classified by the CDC are “diseases of heart” (heart disease), “malignant neoplasms” (cancer), “chronic lower respiratory diseases” (respiratory diseases), “cerebrovascular diseases” (stroke), “accidents,” “Alzheimer’s disease,” “diabetes mellitus” (diabetes), “influenza and pneumonia,” “nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis” (kidney diseases), and “septicemia.”

        Data source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Map by Ben Blatt/Slate.

        I included this map because it illustrates a few things the other two don’t, mainly the regionalism in diseases like septicemia and kidney diseases. But this map—like many maps which purport to show attributes meant to be “distinct” or “disproportionate”—can be misleading if not read properly. For one thing, you cannot make comparisons between states. Looking at this map, you probably would not guess that Utah has the sixth-highest diabetes rate in the country. Diabetes just happens to be the one disease that affects Utah most disproportionately. Louisiana has a higher diabetes death rate than any state, but is affected even more disproportionately by kidney disease.

        If you’re interested in geographic variation of cause of death, I’d recommended looking through the data (either on the CDC site or easily organized on this site). But I also realize data tables are not as fun as maps, so below is an attempt to break down the numbers in a more granular but still visual manner. For instance, take this map that shows which states have more people die from accidents than the national average.

        Data source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Map by Ben Blatt/Slate.

        It should be noted that each state’s rate is compared with the national average, not the median. That’s why it’s possible for 30 states to have more deaths than the national average.

        Data source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Map by Ben Blatt/Slate.

        It should also be clear that this data is not normalized by state. This means a cause of death may be uncommon for its own state, but still higher than the national average. For instance, a person from Alabama dies from every single one of the nation’s top 10 causes of death at an age-adjusted rate that exceeds the national average.

        By contrast, the age-adjusted death rates for the top 10 causes of death are all lower in Minnesota than they are nationally. It makes sense, then, that the most recent estimates by the CDC have the life expectancy in Minnesota as nearly five years longer than in Alabama.

        Below are maps for the other top eight causes of death. Accidents are the fourth-leading cause and heart disease is the first. The rest are presented in sequential order.

        Data source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Map by Ben Blatt/Slate.

        Data source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Map by Ben Blatt/Slate.

        Data source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Map by Ben Blatt/Slate.

        Data source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Map by Ben Blatt/Slate.

        Data source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Map by Ben Blatt/Slate.

        Data source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Map by Ben Blatt/Slate.

        Data source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Map by Ben Blatt/Slate.

        Data source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Map by Ben Blatt/Slate.


        The Dust Bowl

        Soil conservation The government began to offer relief to farmers through President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal. Roosevelt believed it was the federal government`s duty to help the American people get through the bad times like the Dust Bowl. During the first three months of his presidency, a steady stream of bills were passed to relieve poverty, reduce unemployment and speed economic recovery. While these experimental programs did not end the Depression, the New Deal helped the American people immeasurably by taking care of their basic needs and giving them the dignity of work, and hope during trying times. Hugh Hammond Bennett, who came to be known as "the father of Soil Conservation," had been leading a campaign to reform farming practices well before Roosevelt became president. Bennett called for ". a tremendous national awakening to the need for action in bettering our agricultural practices." He urged a new approach to farming in order to avoid similar catastrophes. In April 1935, Bennett was on his way to testify before a Congressional committee about his soil conservation campaign when he learned of a dust storm blowing into the capitol from the western plains. At last, he believed that he would have tangible evidence of the results of bad farming practices. As the dust settled over Washington and blotted out the midday sun, Bennett exclaimed, "This, gentlemen, is what I have been talking about." Congress responded by passing the Soil Conservation Act of 1935. In addition, the Roosevelt administration put its full weight and authority behind the improvement of farming techniques to prevent a recurrence of the Dust Bowl. President Roosevelt ordered that the Civilian Conservation Corps plant a huge belt of more than 200 million trees from Canada to Abilene, Texas, to break the wind, hold water in the soil, and hold the soil itself in place. The administration also began to educate farmers on soil conservation and anti-erosion techniques, including crop rotation, strip farming, contour plowing, terracing and other beneficial farming practices. In 1937, the federal government began an aggressive campaign to encourage Dust Bowlers to adopt planting and plowing methods that conserve the soil. The government paid the reluctant farmers a dollar an acre to practice one of the new methods. By 1938, the massive conservation effort had reduced the amount of blowing soil by 65 percent. Nevertheless, the land failed to yield a decent living. In the fall of 1939, after nearly a decade of dirt and dust, the skies finally opened. With the rain`s return, dry fields soon yielded their golden wheat once more, and just as quickly as it had begun, the Dust Bowl was, thankfully, over.


        Coronavirus cases in the U.S., globally

        Below you will find maps and charts from The Associated Press showing the number of coronavirus cases across the U.S. and world.

        Updated at 4:26 p.m. on Thursday, March 19, 2020: This story has been updated to correct inaccurate information provided to The Colorado Sun from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

        Updated at 8:50 a.m. on Sunday, March 22, 2020: This story has been updated to correct inaccurate information provided to The Colorado Sun from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

        Updated at 4:17 p.m. on Wednesday, March 25, 2020: This story has been updated to correct inaccurate information provided to The Colorado Sun from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

        The Colorado Sun has no paywall, meaning readers do not have to pay to access stories. We believe vital information needs to be seen by the people impacted, whether it’s a public health crisis, investigative reporting or keeping lawmakers accountable.

        This reporting depends on support from readers like you. For just $5/month, you can invest in an informed community.


        Defeating Polio, The Disease That Paralyzed America

        Tens of thousands of Americans — in the first half of the 20th century — were stricken by poliomyelitis. Polio, as it's known, is a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

        The hallmarks of the Polio Era were children on crutches and in iron lungs, shuttered swimming pools, theaters warning moviegoers to not sit too close to one another.

        On April 12, 2015, we celebrate the 60th anniversary of a vaccine developed by Jonas Salk that prevented the disease and eventually led to its remarkable decline. The introduction of that vaccine in 1955 was one of the biggest medical advances in American history.

        A nurse prepares children for a polio vaccine shot as part of citywide testing of the vaccine on elementary school students in Pittsburgh in 1954. Bettmann/CORBIS hide caption

        A nurse prepares children for a polio vaccine shot as part of citywide testing of the vaccine on elementary school students in Pittsburgh in 1954.

        Think of it: Between 1937 and 1997, Post-Polio Health International estimates in one table, more than 457,000 people in the U.S. — and hundreds of thousands more around the world — suffered from some form of polio. Thousands and thousands were paralyzed in this country alone.

        Within two years of the 1955 announcement, U.S. polio cases dropped 85 to 90 percent, Joe Palca of NPR reported.

        But, as is often the case, the statistics — even dramatic statistics — don't tell the complete story. So let's listen to a couple of contemporary Americans who lived through the horror talk about the disease — and about its defeat.

        David M. Oshinsky, 70, is a history professor at New York University and director of the Division of Medical Humanities at the NYU-Langone Medical Center. His book, Polio: An American Story, won the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for History. Walter A. Orenstein, 67, is a professor of medicine, pediatrics and global health at Emory University. He is also associate director of the Emory Vaccine Center.

        1) When was the polio epidemic at its worst in the United States? "Polio was at its height in the early 1950s," says Oshinsky, "just as the Salk vaccine was tested and found to be 'safe, effective and potent.' "

        2) How was the public responding — what precautions were people taking, what myths were being circulated? "The public was horribly and understandably frightened by polio," says Oshinsky, who grew up in Queens, N.Y. "There was no prevention and no cure. Everyone was at risk, especially children. There was nothing a parent could do to protect the family. I grew up in this era. Each summer, polio would come like The Plague. Beaches and pools would close — because of the fear that the poliovirus was waterborne. Children had to say away from crowds, so they often were banned from movie theaters, bowling alleys, and the like. My mother gave us all a 'polio test' each day: Could we touch our toes and put our chins to our chest? Every stomach ache or stiffness caused a panic. Was it polio? I remember the awful photos of children on crutches, in wheelchairs and iron lungs. And coming back to school in September to see the empty desks where the children hadn't returned."

        A nurse assists a 27-year-old patient in an iron lung in Syracuse, N.Y., in 1954. AP hide caption

        A nurse assists a 27-year-old patient in an iron lung in Syracuse, N.Y., in 1954.

        3) What cultural changes occurred in America as a result of the polio outbreaks and as a result of its cure? "Rumors spread that soft drinks were responsible — or too much rain or heat," Oshinsky says. "In some places people stopped handling paper money and refused to shake hands. But mostly people mobilized to fight the disease by raising money for the March of Dimes, which promised us a life-saving protective vaccine. And, in the end, it gave us two vaccines — the injected killed-virus version of Jonas Salk and the oral live-virus version of Albert Sabin."

        4) How was the country different before — and after — the polio scares? "Word that the Salk vaccine was successful set off one of the greatest celebrations in modern American history," Oshinsky remembers. "The date was April 12, 1955 — the announcement came from Ann Arbor, Mich. Church bells tolled, factory whistles blew. People ran into the streets weeping. President Eisenhower invited Jonas Salk to the White House, where he choked up while thanking Salk for saving the world's children — an iconic moment, the height of America's faith in research and science. Vaccines became a natural part of pediatric care."

        5) When and what was the process for Jonas Salk and his vaccine and when was his ah-ha moment? "Salk's 'Eureka Moment' came when he realized that his killed-virus vaccine produced high antibody levels in children, following a series of experiments in the early 1950s," Oshinsky says. "And his vaccine was validated in 1955, following the largest public health experiment in American history, involving close to 2 million schoolchildren, some getting the real vaccine, the others a look-alike placebo. It took a year to tabulate the results, which were extraordinary."

        6) What did Albert Sabin contribute to eradication of the disease? "Sabin couldn't test his oral live-virus vaccine in the U.S. because so many kids were already vaccinated with the Salk vaccine," Oshinky explains. "So, in one of the great stories of the Cold War era, he was allowed to go to the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe to test there. They lined up close to 70 million children — the glories of repressive police states — and the results were fantastic. The Sabin vaccine was extremely effective, giving the world two terrific vaccines against polio."

        7) What are the chances that polio will return to the U.S. or that something as serious will reach such critical epidemic levels? "The chances of a return of polio to the U.S. are slim although not zero," says Walter A. Orenstein. "The main reason is the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI). When it began in 1988, there were an estimated 350,000 persons paralyzed by polio in that year alone. In contrast, in 2014, there were only 359 cases, a greater than 99 percent reduction. In 1988, there were 125 countries considered endemic for polio. In other words, these countries had continuous circulation of polioviruses. In 2014, only three countries are considered endemic: Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria. What would put the U.S. at greatest risk is failure to complete eradication and, even worse, a backing-off of the efforts to contain the virus, in which case there would likely be a global resurgence. Working in partnership with the GPEI is the best way to eliminate the risk for a return of polio to the U.S."

        Dr. Albert B. Sabin (right) and Dr. Jonas Salk in Washington in 1955. Henry Griffin/AP hide caption

        Dr. Albert B. Sabin (right) and Dr. Jonas Salk in Washington in 1955.

        8) How can we prevent it? "As long as polioviruses circulate anywhere," Orenstein says, "there is the potential that the virus can be exported to the U.S. The best way to reduce that risk is to ensure our population is fully immunized in accordance with recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and in addition, travelers to areas where polio is endemic or epidemic should receive at least one additional dose of vaccine. Long-term residents of 'polio exporting countries' — that is, countries which have exported poliovirus in recent years — should receive a dose of polio vaccine at least four weeks prior to travel outside of the country and no more than 12 months prior to travel."

        9) How did Jonas Salk — and other vaccine creators — deal with people who did not believe in the vaccine? "During the period when Jonas Salk developed the inactivated polio vaccine, or IPV, there was not much opposition to vaccines," says Orenstein, who grew up in the Bronx. "People were genuinely scared about polio and the annual epidemics — which during the early 1950s paralyzed more than 15,000 people each year in the U.S. IPV was viewed as a miracle. I remember being in second grade when the Salk polio vaccine was licensed and there was to be a vaccination campaign in my school. I was none too thrilled about getting 'a shot' for something I knew nothing about. I remember my mother saying to me 'Better you should cry, than I should cry.' That's how much appreciated the vaccine was."

        Children's Health

        Salk Polio Vaccine Conquered Terrifying Disease

        Health

        Polio Pioneer Helps Survivors Hold On To Strength

        These days, Orenstein says, "Vaccines are in a sense victims of their own success. Diseases which caused so much fear years ago cause little fear today because today's parents have never seen such cases. They are artifacts of history to them. But because all of the infections prevented by vaccines still circulate somewhere in the world, there is the potential of major resurgences should the pathogens be reintroduced into populations with low vaccination coverage."

        He adds: "It is incumbent for all of us who know something about vaccines to better educate our population regarding the risks of vaccine-preventable diseases, the benefits of the vaccines which prevent them, the risks of the vaccines and how they compare with the benefits, and the system in place to assure the vaccines we use are safe and effective."


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        How Did The Black Plague End?

        Europe saw the worst of the Black Plague for nearly 10 years before the disease began to subside, yet it still returned every decade or so up until the 18th century. It was never quite as deadly as it was in the 14th century.

        The Great Plague of London in 1665 is often considered the last major outbreak of the disease, though there are reports of the disease in Western Europe as late as 1721. Also, the Black Plague did continue to infect Russia and the Ottoman Empire well into the 19th century.

        To this day, nobody knows exactly why or how the Black Death finally came to an end, but experts have a few compelling theories.

        Some experts posit that the biggest possible reason for the plague’s disappearance was simply modernization.

        People previously thought that the plague was divine punishment for their sins which often led to ineffective remedies that were grounded in mysticism. Alternatively, devout worshippers who did not want to go against “God’s will” stood idly by as the disease swept their homes.

        But with advancements in medical science and a better understanding of bacterial diseases, there emerged new treatments.

        Wikimedia Commons Thhis map illustrates the spread of the Black Death.

        Indeed, the plague became an impetus for significant developments in medicine and public health regulation. Scientists of the time turned to dissection, the study of blood circulation, and sanitation to find ways to combat the spread of the disease.

        The phrase “quarantine,” in fact, was coined during the outbreak of the Black Plague in Venice in the early 15th century. Historically, however, the policy was only first implemented by the Republic of Ragusa (present-day Dubrovnik in Croatia) in 1377, when the city shuttered its borders for 30 days.

        Others suggest that the plague subsided due to the genetic evolution of human bodies and bacteria itself.

        The reality, though, is that there is still much to be learned about the Black Plague and how it finally subsided.


        Leaf Scorch on Maple Trees

        Japanese maples in particular, but other maples too, especially when young, can suddenly have the leaves dry out, first around the edges and sometimes the whole leaf. This is not a disease but the result of too much sun, often combined with lack of water. This will usually be seen during a long hot and dry spell, so remember to keep your tree well-watered when the hot weather arrives. If you have a Japanese maple that regularly dries up like this in the summer, despite watering it well, you might consider moving the tree into a shadier part of the garden. This is easily done during the winter while the tree is dormant. Dig it up with plenty of soil and water it thoroughly in its new location.

        It might look like maple trees have a lot of problems, but really they are usually healthy and among the best choices you can make for your garden. If you watch out for diseases and know how serious they may or may not be, you will enjoy your tree for many years.

        Popular Maple Trees


        The World Changed Its Approach to Health After the 1918 Flu. Will It After The COVID-19 Outbreak?

        A s the world grapples with a global health emergency that is COVID-19, many are drawing parallels with a pandemic of another infectious disease &ndash influenza &ndash that took the world by storm just over 100 years ago. We should hope against hope that this one isn&rsquot as bad, but the 1918 flu had momentous long-term consequences &ndash not least for the way countries deliver healthcare. Could COVID-19 do the same?

        The 1918 flu pandemic claimed at least 50 million lives, or 2.5 per cent of the global population, according to current estimates. It washed over the world in three waves. A relatively mild wave in the early months of 1918 was followed by a far more lethal second wave that erupted in late August. That receded towards the end of the year, only to be reprised in the early months of 1919 by a third and final wave that was intermediate in severity between the other two. The vast majority of the deaths occurred in the 13 weeks between mid-September and mid-December 1918. It was a veritable tidal wave of death &ndash the worst since the Black Death of the 14th-century &ndash and possibly in all of human history.

        Flu and COVID-19 are different diseases, but they have certain things in common. They are both respiratory diseases, spread on the breath and hands as well as, to some extent, via surfaces. Both are caused by viruses, and both are highly contagious. COVID-19 kills a considerably higher proportion of those it infects, than seasonal flu, but it&rsquos not yet clear how it measures up, in terms of lethality, to pandemic flu &ndash the kind that caused the 1918 disaster. Both are what are known as &ldquocrowd diseases&rdquo, spreading most easily when people are packed together at high densities &ndash in favelas, for example, or trenches. This is one reason historians agree that the 1918 pandemic hastened the end of the First World War, since both sides lost so many troops to the disease in the final months of the conflict &ndash a silver lining, of sorts.

        Crowd diseases exacerbate human inequities. Though everyone is susceptible, more or less, those who live in crowded and sub-standard accommodation are more susceptible than most. Malnutrition, overwork and underlying conditions can compromise a person&rsquos immune deficiencies. If, on top of everything else, they don&rsquot have access to good-quality healthcare, they become even more susceptible. Today as in 1918, these disadvantages often coincide, meaning that the poor, the working classes and those living in less developed countries tend to suffer worst in an epidemic. To illustrate that, an estimated 18 million Indians died during the 1918 flu &ndash the highest death toll of any country, in absolute numbers, and the equivalent of the worldwide death toll of the First World War.

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        In 1918, the explanation for these inequities was different. Eugenics was then a mainstream view, and privileged elites looked down on workers and the poor as inferior categories of human being, who lacked the drive to achieve a better standard of living. If they sickened and died from typhus, cholera and other crowd diseases, the reasons were inherent to them, rather than to be found in their often abysmal living conditions. In the context of an epidemic, public health generally referred to a suite of measures designed to protect those elites from the contaminating influence of the diseased underclasses. When bubonic plague broke out in India in 1896, for example, the British colonial authorities instigated a brutal public health campaign that involved disinfecting, fumigating and sometimes burning indigenous Indian homes to the ground. Initially, at least, they refused to believe that the disease was spread by rat fleas. If they had, they would have realized that a better strategy might have been to inspect imported merchandise rather than people, and to de-rat buildings rather than disinfect them.

        Healthcare was much more fragmented then, too. In industrialized countries, most doctors either worked for themselves or were funded by charities or religious institutions, and many people had no access to them at all. Virus was a relatively new concept in 1918, and when the flu arrived medics were almost helpless. They had no reliable diagnostic test, no effective vaccine, no antiviral drugs and no antibiotics &ndash which might have treated the bacterial complications of the flu that killed most of its victims, in the form of pneumonia. Public health measures &ndash especially social distancing measures such as quarantine that we&rsquore employing again today &ndash could be effective, but they were often implemented too late, because flu was not a reportable disease in 1918. This meant that doctors weren&rsquot obliged to report cases to the authorities, which in turn meant that those authorities failed to see the pandemic coming.

        The lesson that health authorities took away from the 1918 catastrophe was that it was no longer reasonable to blame individuals for catching an infectious disease, nor to treat them in isolation. The 1920s saw many governments embracing the concept of socialized medicine &ndash healthcare for all, free at the point of delivery. Russia was the first country to put in place a centralized public healthcare system, which it funded via a state-run insurance scheme, but Germany, France and the UK eventually followed suit. The U.S. took a different route, preferring employer-based insurance schemes &ndash which began to proliferate from the 1930s on &ndash but all of these nations took steps to consolidate healthcare, and to expand access to it, in the post-flu years.

        Many countries also created or revamped health ministries in the 1920s. This was a direct result of the pandemic, during which public health leaders had been either left out of cabinet meetings entirely, or reduced to pleading for funds and powers from other departments. Countries also recognized the need to coordinate public health at the international level, since clearly, contagious diseases didn&rsquot respect borders. 1919 saw the opening, in Vienna, Austria, of an international bureau for fighting epidemics &ndash a forerunner, along with the health branch of the short-lived League of Nations, of today&rsquos World Health Organization (WHO).

        A hundred years on from the 1918 flu, the WHO is offering a global response to a global threat. But the WHO is underfunded by its member nations, many of which have ignored its recommendations &ndash including the one not to close borders. COVID-19 has arrived at a time when European nations are debating whether their healthcare systems, now creaking under the strain of larger, aging populations, are still fit for purpose, and when the US is debating just how universal its system really is.


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