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Vaccines and Immunizations: Read for FACTS: Polio, smallpox, and other diseases

Immunizations and vaccines have been saving lives for hundreds of years. Read about their history, development, and the social forces having an impact on their administration.

Books in this guide are on display in the Main and Science Libraries during the month of August 2021.

The Death of a Disease: A History of the Eradication of Poliomyelitis

ebook and Science Library 4th floor,  RC180.9 .S4913 2005  
In 1988, the World Health Organization launched a campaign for the global eradication of polio. Today, this goal is closer than ever. Fewer than 1,300 people were paralyzed from the disease in 2004, down from approximately 350,000 in 1988. In The Death of a Disease, science writers Bernard Seytre and Mary Shaffer tell the dramatic story of this crippling virus that has evoked terror among parents and struck down healthy children for centuries. Beginning in ancient Egypt, the narrative explores the earliest stages of research, describes the wayward paths taken by a long line of scientists-each of whom made a vital contribution to understanding this enigmatic virus-and traces the development of the Salk and Sabin vaccines. The book also tracks the contemporary polio story, detailing the remaining obstacles as well as the medical, governmental, and international health efforts that are currently being focused on developing countries such as India, Pakistan, Nigeria, and Niger. At a time when emerging diseases and the threat of bioterrorism are the focus of much media and public attention, this book tells the story of a crippling disease that is on the verge of disappearing. In the face of tremendous odds, the near-eradication of polio offers an inspiring story that is both encouraging and instructive to those at the center of the continued fight against communicable diseases.  

Pox: An American History

Science Library 4th floor,  RA644.S6 W55 2011  
The untold story of how America's Progressive-era war on smallpox sparked one of the great civil liberties battles of the twentieth century. At the turn of the last century, a powerful smallpox epidemic swept the United States from coast to coast. The age-old disease spread swiftly through an increasingly interconnected American landscape: from southern tobacco plantations to the dense immigrant neighborhoods of northern cities to far-flung villages on the edges of the nascent American empire. In Pox, award-winning historian Michael Willrich offers a gripping chronicle of how the nation's continentwide fight against smallpox launched one of the most important civil liberties struggles of the twentieth century. At the dawn of the activist Progressive era and during a moment of great optimism about modern medicine, the government responded to the deadly epidemic by calling for universal compulsory vaccination. To enforce the law, public health authorities relied on quarantines, pesthouses, and "virus squads"-corps of doctors and club-wielding police. Though these measures eventually contained the disease, they also sparked a wave of popular resistance among Americans who perceived them as a threat to their health and to their rights. At the time, anti-vaccinationists were often dismissed as misguided cranks, but Willrich argues that they belonged to a wider legacy of American dissent that attended the rise of an increasingly powerful government. While a well-organized anti-vaccination movement sprang up during these years, many Americans resisted in subtler ways-by concealing sick family members or forging immunization certificates. Pox introduces us to memorable characters on both sides of the debate, from Henning Jacobson, a Swedish Lutheran minister whose battle against vaccination went all the way to the Supreme Court, to C. P. Wertenbaker, a federal surgeon who saw himself as a medical missionary combating a deadly-and preventable-disease. As Willrich suggests, many of the questions first raised by the Progressive-era antivaccination movement are still with us: How far should the government go to protect us from peril? What happens when the interests of public health collide with religious beliefs and personal conscience? In Pox, Willrich delivers a riveting tale about the clash of modern medicine, civil liberties, and government power at the turn of the last century that resonates powerfully today.

Vaccination in America: Medical Science and Children's Welfare

ebook and Science Library 4th floor,  RJ240 .A48 2018  
The success of the polio vaccine was a remarkable breakthrough for medical science, effectively eradicating a dreaded childhood disease. It was also the largest medical experiment to use American schoolchildren. Richard J. Altenbaugh examines an uneasy conundrum in the history of vaccination: even as vaccines greatly mitigate the harm that infectious disease causes children, the process of developing these vaccines put children at great risk as research subjects. In the first half of the twentieth century, in the face of widespread resistance to vaccines, public health officials gradually medicalized American culture through mass media, public health campaigns, and the public education system. Schools supplied tens of thousands of young human subjects to researchers, school buildings became the main dispensaries of the polio antigen, and the mass immunization campaign that followed changed American public health policy in profound ways. Tapping links between bioethics, education, public health, and medical research, this book raises fundamental questions about child welfare and the tension between private and public responsibility that still fuel anxieties around vaccination today. 

In the Blink of an Eye: The Deadly Story of Epidemic Meningitis

ebook
This book is an account of a major historical event, in the world of medicine. As the son of one of the lead scientists who developed the vaccine for meningococcal meningitis, Andrew Artenstein has a unique perspective on the story. In the Blink of an Eye shares his experience.

Bracing Accounts: The Literature and Culture of Polio in Postwar America

Main Library 3rd floor,  PS228 .P57 F64 2008  
"Jacqueline Foertsch analyzes the archive of polio-related fiction, nonfiction, film, and ephemera (from the mimeograph machine to the Internet) that has emerged in response to the American polio experience of the late 1940s and early 1950s. Incorporating the remarkable stories of polio's epidemic history, Franklin Delano Roosevelt's involvement with polio, the March of Dimes, and the Salk vaccine, Bracing Accounts reads a wide range of literary and cultural polio texts, whose many therapeutic qualities speak to the enduring significance of polio as both a historical event and an index of contemporary perceptions of the American past as well as the progress of disability rights today."

Three Shots at Prevention: The HPV Vaccine and the Politics of Medicine's Simple Solutions

Science Library 4th floor,  QR189.5.P36 T48 2010  
In 2007, Texas governor Rick Perry issued an executive order requiring that all females entering sixth grade be vaccinated against the human papillomavirus (HPV), igniting national debate that echoed arguments heard across the globe over public policy, sexual health, and the politics of vaccination. Three Shots at Prevention explores the contentious disputes surrounding the controversial vaccine intended to protect against HPV, the most common sexually transmitted infection. When the HPV vaccine first came to the market in 2006, religious conservatives decried the government's approval of the vaccine as implicitly sanctioning teen sex and encouraging promiscuity while advocates applauded its potential to prevent 4,000 cervical cancer deaths in the United States each year. Families worried that laws requiring vaccination reached too far into their private lives. Public health officials wrestled with concerns over whether the drug was too new to be required and whether opposition to it could endanger support for other, widely accepted vaccinations. Many people questioned the aggressive marketing campaigns of the vaccine's creator, Merck & Co. And, since HPV causes cancers of the cervix, vulva, vagina, penis, and anus, why was the vaccine recommended only for females? What did this reveal about gender and sexual politics in the United States? With hundreds of thousands of HPV-related cancer deaths worldwide, how did similar national debates in Europe and the developing world shape the global possibilities of cancer prevention? This volume provides insight into the deep moral, ethical, and scientific questions that must be addressed when sexual and social politics confront public health initiatives in the United States and around the world.

Elegy for A Disease: A Personal and Cultural History of Polio

Science Library 4th floor,  RC180.2 .F56 2006  
During the first half of the twentieth century, epidemics of polio caused fear and panic, killing some who contracted the disease, leaving others with varying degrees of paralysis. The defeat of polio became a symbol of modern technology's ability to reduce human suffering. But while the story of polio may have seemed to end on April 12, 1956, when the Salk vaccine was declared a success, millions of people worldwide are polio survivors. In this dazzling memoir, Anne Finger interweaves her personal experience with polio with a social and cultural history of the disease. Anne contracted polio as a very young child, just a few months before the Salk vaccine became widely available. After six months of hospitalization, she returned to her family's home in upstate New York, using braces and crutches. In her memoir, she writes about the physical expansiveness of her childhood, about medical attempts to "fix" her body, about family violence, job discrimination, and a life rich with political activism, writing, and motherhood. She also writes an autobiography of the disease, describing how it came to widespread public attention during a 1916 epidemic in New York in which immigrants, especially Italian immigrants, were scapegoated as being the vectors of the disease. She relates the key roles that Franklin Roosevelt played in constructing polio as a disease that could be overcome with hard work, as well as his ties to the nascent March of Dimes, the prototype of the modern charity. Along the way, we meet the formidable Sister Kenny, the Australian nurse who claimed to have found a revolutionary treatment for polio and who was one of the most admired women in America at mid-century; a group of polio survivors who formed the League of the Physically Handicapped to agitate for an end to disability discrimination in Depression-era relief projects; and the founders of the early disability-rights movement, many of them polio survivors who, having been raised to overcome obstacles and triumph over their disabilities, confronted a world filled with barriers and impediments that no amount of hard work could overcome. Anne Finger writes with the candor and the skill of a novelist, and shows not only how polio shaped her life, but how it shaped American cultural experience as well.

The War Against Hepatitis B

Science Library 4th floor,  RA644 .H4 M87 1995
"Muraskin's book chronicles the work of an international task force dedicated to vaccinating Third World peoples for hepatitis B. He gives provocative insights into the relationship between the four idealistic and determined men who founded the task force, Alfred Prince, James Maynard, Ian Gust, and Richard Mahoney. The individual contributions of these men are delineated in a way that conveys both professional and personal aspects of their commitment to the treatment of viral hepatitis."--Bulletin of the History of Medicine

The White Death: A History of Tuberculosis

Science Library 4th floor,  RC311 .D67 2000  
The victims of tuberculosis (usually known as consumption) included not only Keats, The Brontës, Chopin and Chekhov, but members of almost every family. It was a killer on a huge scale. The White Death is an outstanding history of tuberculosis. Thomas Dormandy's engrossing account of the search for a cure is complemented by a description of its complex natural history and by portraits of individual sufferers, including writers, artists, and musicians, whose lives and work were shaped (and often tragically curtailed) by the disease. But, tuberculosis is not just a disease of the past. In many parts of the world it is still a bigger killer than AIDS, while in America and Europe drug-resistant strains threaten its resurgence.

Mad Dogs and Other New Yorkers: Rabies, Medicine, and Society in an American Metropolis, 1840–1920

ebook and Science Library 4th floor,  RA644.R3 W36 2019
How rabid dogs, the struggles to contain them, and their power over the public imagination intersected with New York City's rise to urban preeminence. Rabies enjoys a fearsome and lurid reputation. Throughout the decades of spiraling growth that defined New York City from the 1840s to the 1910s, the bone-chilling cry of "Mad dog!" possessed the power to upend the ordinary routines and rhythms of urban life. In Mad Dogs and Other New Yorkers, Jessica Wang examines the history of this rare but dreaded affliction during a time of rapid urbanization. Focusing on a transformative era in medicine, politics, and urban society, Wang uses rabies to survey urban social geography, the place of domesticated animals in the nineteenth-century city, and the world of American medicine. Rabies, she demonstrates, provides an ideal vehicle for exploring physicians' ideas about therapeutics, disease pathology, and the body as well as the global flows of knowledge and therapeutics. Beyond the medical realm, the disease also illuminates the cultural fears and political contestations that evolved in lockstep with New York City's burgeoning cityscape. Mad Dogs and Other New Yorkers offers lay readers and specialists alike the opportunity to contemplate a tumultuous domain of people, animals, and disease against a backdrop of urban growth, medical advancement, and social upheaval. The result is a probing history of medicine that details the social world of New York physicians, their ideas about a rare and perplexing disorder, and the struggles of an ever-changing, ever-challenging urban society.

About the summaries

Summaries attached to these titles have been supplied by the book's publisher, and should be considered advertisements (jacket blurbs), not objective reviews.