Paul Greenough to speak on CDC Epidemiologists and smallpox in Pakistan

History of Medicine Talk – Paul Greenough

History of Medicine Lecture: Paul Greenough, Prof. of History at U of Ia will speak on “When CDC Epidemiologists took a “wild and wondrous ride”: Fighting smallpox in Pakistan on the eve of the global eradication campaign.  Thurs, Oct. 27, 5:30-6:30.  Room 401, Hardin Library for the Health Sciences.

In April 1958 the Pakistan Government invited an American team from the Centers for Disease Control to assist public health authorities in East Pakistan with their immunization programs in the middle of a grave smallpox epidemic. While the US government hoped for a Cold War advantage, CDC officials saw an opportunity for the Epidemic Intelligence Service to practice “field epidemiology” in a developing country.  When the epidemic ended in July 1958, 30 million Bengalis had been vaccinated for smallpox, but 20,000 had succumbed to the disease.  This episode was CDC’s first sustained foreign intervention, but the experience was marked by problems adjusting to the Pakistani context and has been quietly buried in CDC’s annals.

 

In April 1958 the Pakistan Government invited an American team from the Centers for Disease Control to assist public health authorities in East Pakistan with their immunization programs in the middle of a grave smallpox epidemic.  While the US government hoped for a Cold War advantage, CDC officials saw an opportunity for their Epidemic Intelligence Service to practice “field epidemiology” in a developing country. When the epidemic ended in July 1958, 30 million Bengalis had been vaccinated for smallpox, but 20,000 had succumbed to the disease. This episode was CDC’s first sustained foreign intervention, but the experience was marked by  problems adjusting to the Pakistani context and has been quietly buried in CDC’s annals.