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Historical Perspective on Response to a Pandemic

The Historical Collections department at the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library, University of Virginia, has posted a fascinating look back at what dealing with a pandemic was like “back in the day.” Have a look at the online exihibit of “The Plague Book,” to see a variety of methodologies for preventing plague and for treating it (if you failed to prevent it). I’m sure we’ve come a long way toward both efforts when it comes to anticipating a pandemic of influenza, but you can’t help wondering if taking “two hand-ful of Valerian, three roots of Danewort, a handful of Smallage, or Lovage, if you can get it, seethe them all in butter and water, & a few crumbs of bread, and make a poultice thereof” might be as helpful as anything in the event of a vaccine shortage!


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