Ninety years ago, the 1918-19 Flu Pandemic was called the “greatest medical holocaust in history.” Best estimates put the worldwide death toll anywhere from 50 to 100 million people. The H1N1 virus, an unusually virulent strain of influenza A, was identified as the deadly culprit behind that pandemic. Now, fast-forward to 2009, and the H1N1 virus has re-emerged around the world with a vengeance.
A new exhibit at the Dana Medical Library, H1N1 Flu: 1918-19 & 2009, traces the epidemiological and historical aspects of this virus in two different centuries. The images and texts in the exhibit hope to shed some light on the virus’ impact on a world at war, on student life at UVM, and even on literary works on the shelves at the Bailey/Howe Library. Current 2009 influenza statistics from the Vermont Department of Health will be monitored and posted weekly for this dynamic display.