Lest we forget

“Lest we forget: Influenza, the Great Pandemic of the Great War”

Presenter: Scott Minnich, Professor of Microbiology - University of Idaho

Tuesday, April 8, 2014
12:30-1:30 p.m.
Vandal Ballroom, Student Union Building

Presented with support of the Borah Foundation, Provost’s Office, Office of Research and Economic Development and University Honors Program




Abstract
When one considers that great plagues of history, rarely is the influenza epidemic of 1918 mentioned. Yet when one considers the statistics regarding the greatest number of deaths over a given time period, the 1918 influenza epidemic, or Spanish flu, ranks No. 1. Mortality rate estimates range from 20 million to more than 100 million deaths during the year it circumscribed the globe. Coming at the end of World War I, it killed more individuals than the war itself (estimated at 9.2 combat deaths and 15 million total deaths). More than 25 percent of the U.S. population was infected during this year. This presentation will review the history of the 1918 epidemic and its influence on public health policy. Additionally, our present-day understanding of flu epidemiology and forensic methods to recover the 1918 virus provide a contextual basis for present concerns regarding Avian flu and emerging virus strains.

Biography
Scott Minnich is a professor of microbiology at the University of Idaho. He received his Ph.D. in Microbiology from Iowa State University in 1979. He pursued post-doctoral studies in microbial and molecular genetics at Purdue and Princeton universities. Dr. Minnich's present research is centered on the molecular pathogenesis of Yersinia pestis (bubonic plague) and hemorrhagic E. coli. He is course chair for the WWAMI microbiology and infectious disease class for first-year medical students and is Associate Director for the NIH-funded Idaho INBRE program. From October 2003 to May 2004, he served as a subject matter expert with the Iraq Survey Group WMD Inspection Team headquartered in Baghdad.


About the Borah Symposium
The University of Idaho’s 2014 Borah Symposium examines how World War I changed the face of modern warfare. The symposium theme is “The Legacy of WWI: The Making of the Modern World.” View Schedule of Events