Many of us are hearing expressions like “social distancing” and “shelter in place” for the first time. But these are just some of the practices and techniques developed by the public healthcare community that have been successfully deployed in the past to control disease. The following research reports and scholarly articles demonstrate how outbreaks in the past inform disease control measures in the future. (Please Note: JSTOR is also offering free access to Public Health journals on JSTOR.)
Authors: Stephen C. Redd, Thomas R. Frieden, Anne Schuchat and Peter A. Briss
Published in: Public Health Reports (2010), Supplement 3: The 1918-1919 Influenza Pandemic in the United States
ABSTRACT: Learning lessons from previous pandemics is not merely an academic exercise. Our experiences from 1918 and other 20th-century pandemics helped us prepare for and respond to the 2009 H1N1 pandemic. In addition to better understanding these earlier pandemics, we must continue to learn and apply lessons from our experience with the current H1N1 pandemic to improve our ability to respond to future pandemics. Any reflection on the first pandemics of the 20th and 21st centuries must begin with gratitude for the fruits of science and technology, many of which were unimaginable in 1918. We can now detect, prevent, and treat disease; clarify the dynamic circumstances of pandemics; and save lives.
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