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tv   Reel America The Silent Invader - 1957  CSPAN  April 7, 2021 11:29am-12:01pm EDT

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world. weeknights this month, we are featuring american history tv programs as a preview of what's available every weekend on c-span3. tonight we look at crime and forensics. bruce goldfarb, author of "18 tiny deaths, the untold story of franklin lee and modern forensics" show what are used in the chief medical examiner's office of maryland. he relates the story of ms. lee who constructed the dioramas in the mid-1940s at harvard university and who helped pioneer the science of crime scene investigation. watch tonight beginning at 8:00 p.m. eastern and watch american history tv every weekend on
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c-span3. american history tv on c-span3 every weekend, documenting america's story. funding for american history tv comes from these companies who support c-span3 as a public service. in the public interest, the westinghouse broadcasting company and the university of pittsburgh, one of the nation's major health centers, in cooperation with the american medical society and the united states public health service, bring you "the silent invader," an up to the minute report on asian influenza. how do you do. i'm carl ives. throughout history, mankind has been forced to wage many battles in order to protect his family or nation against misfortune,
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disaster or even popular extinction. sometimes these wars have been -- well, have been catastrophic. there was the catastrophe of 1918 when an influenza epidemic swept through our own nation as well as the entire world. unlike the battles of nation against nation, or humanity against the forces of nature where man has often had an opportunity to prepare himself, the battles against disease throughout the centuries have often found man in the unfortunate position of having to combat this enemy only after it had infiltrated his community and infected much of the population. recently you've become aware of a pandemic, or a worldwide epidemic, which originated in the far east and is now known as asian influenza. because of the efficiency of the united states public health service and the world health organization, a detection system
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similar to that of aircraft spotting, has been established throughout the world and has enabled us to recognize and follow the progress of asian influenza as it circles the globe. health authorities expect an outbreak this fall and winter in the united states, but not in such portions as in the 1918 epidemic. and now the man upon whose shoulders rest the responsibility for preparing the united states for the impending battle with asian influenza is dr. leroy e. bernie, surgeon general of the united states public health service. dr. bernie, i imagine you and your staff have been gathering a tremendous amount of material on asian flu. it seems to me everyone i know has talked about influenza, but i don't think anyone really knows what it is. >> carl, it's one of the upper respiratory infections, something like a cold, only it's caused by flu virus, and the difference between the asian influenza and the influenza that
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we've been having all of these past few years, is that this strain began in -- the strain of the virus began in hong kong and spread from hong kong to the rest of the world including the united states. >> well, every year influenza is a problem in our communities, i'm sure it is in yours, too. why are we suddenly so all concerned about it now? >> well, that's a very good question. we are concerned because in the other countries in which it's appeared, and even in the outbreaks that we've had so far in this country, the attack rate has been 15% to 20% of the population. and this attack rate occurs in about four to six weeks. for example, in metropolitan pittsburgh, with approximately 1 million people, if we had this flu strike here, you would have approximately 200,000 people who would become ill in a four to six weeks period. and this, of course, would make a tremendous impact upon the
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economy of this particular area. >> that's understandable. well, we've all heard of outbreaks here in this country, dr. bernie. exactly how far has it spread? >> it spread all over the united states. the first cases occurred, surprisingly enough, on the east coast rather than on the west coast. among navy personnel in rhode island, and then to additional personnel in san diego. since that time, of course, which was about the 1st of june, it has spread in localized outbreaks to grinnell, iowa, to the boy scouts jamboree in pennsylvania, and to almost all states in the united states. >> i didn't realize it was asian flu that hit the boy scouts. not many people have died as a
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result of asian flu in the rest of the world. do you think the same will hold true here in the united states? >> we have the belief now, based upon the experience of asian influenza in the other countries, in south america at the present time where it is in epidemic proportions, and as a result of the outbreak in this country so far that it is a mild infection and with a very low mortality rate, and we believe that it will continue to be both a mild infection and have a very low death rate. >> well, is there the possibility that asian flu might turn into, if i may use the word, a killer? >> that is a possibility, of course, and that has happened in preceding years when we have had epidemics, back in 1888 when we had a large epidemic. and then many of us recall the 1918-'19 epidemic when we had a
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mild influenza epidemic in the spring of 1918, and then in the fall, we had a large outbreak of very virulent influenza followed by serious complications, and then another wave hit us in february or march of 1919. at that time, as you may recall, in that whole period, we had about 20 million cases in the united states and about 850,000 deaths. but i would like to add that conditions are quite different now than they were then. in the first place, we have a mild strain of influenza, not a virulent strain. in the second place, we have the antibiotics to combat any complications that might arise, which we did not have in 1918. >> well, doctor, with the disease spreading so rapidly, what exactly now are we doing to combat it? >> well, actually, carl, we are trying to do three things. one is to develop as rapidly as
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possible the only preventive agent that we have against influenza, and that is the vaccine against this particular strain of the virus. and that is being done in six of the large pharmaceutical manufacturers of this country. the strain was collected by an alert u.s. army medical team in tokyo and sent back to this country and then given to the u.s. public health service. we distribute it to the manufacturers and they in turn actually began to manufacture the vaccine before we had had the first case in this country. so now our job is to get more of that vaccine available and to get the public to use it. number two, we have to be prepared to take care of the individuals who become ill. and we have been working since early june with the american medical association, the american hospital association,
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state officers, volunteer groups and others to help prepare in taking care of those who become ill. finally, a matter of having an alert and an informed public, one who will be aware of the facts without being unduly alarmed. and certainly this program of the westinghouse broadcasting company is a good example of public service to have an alert but not an alarmed public. >> well, dr. bernie, you and your public health service crew, if i can use that word, crew, certainly seem to have made great strides to get us ready for this possible epidemic in such a very short time. >> we've had a lot of help, i can assure you, carl, in doing this. it hasn't been a one-man or one-organization issue. we've had both the education as well as the medical care part, and then in working with the manufacturers to get them to
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manufacture the vaccine and to stop other activities and to build up their staffs. i think we can all be proud of the industry which we have in this country. it's another example of the know-how and the expeditious way in which free enterprise through our american industry can do a good job. the vaccine or the virus was given to the industries about the middle of may, and within three months, the vaccine was being released through our national institutes of health as being both a safe and an effective vaccine, and that seems to me a good example of both teamwork and a very expeditious work by the manufacturers. another example out of this teamwork and to illustrate this isn't a one-man show is that we have with us this evening, i'd like to present to you dr. james a. crabtree who is an associate dean of the university of
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pittsburgh school of public health who will demonstrate on you asian flu has spread throughout the world. >> thank you very much, dr. bernie, and i'm very glad dr. crabtree is with us, too. good afternoon, dr. crabtree. weaver covered the asian flu in a very short time, but i'd like to know how it got started. >> the exact origin of the influenza virus is, of course, not known. but the current epidemic had its beginning, as dr. bernie indicated, in hong kong and singapore. this was in early april. by mid-april, the disease had become, indeed, epidemic in both of these cities and remained so throughout the rest of the month. from hong kong and singapore, the disease rapidly, in early may, moved to the island of
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hormosa. and here it's estimated that as many as half a million people were attacked within a relatively short period of time. from hormosa, the disease next made its appearance in borneo and japan. from the major shipping centers from these several areas, the disease very rapidly scattered into such widely separated places as malaya, indonesia, india, guam, and the philippines. the first cases also, in late may the disease was reported as far away as australia and on board several ships en route from australia to san francisco. the first appearance of the
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disease in the united states was on june 2nd. this date is important because it means only a short six weeks from the time the first cases were reported in china, they occurred in the united states. this indicates the great rapidity in which influenza and influenza-like diseases can spread over the world. by mid-june, this disease had practically circled the globe, including southeast asia, southwest asia, the middle east, europe, australia and north america. late in june, the disease made its appearance in north africa, introduced probably by the muslims returning from their pilgrimages to mecca. so finally in late july, early july, the disease made its
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appearance in chile and south america. so that in three short months, every continent on the globe had been involved in this great pandemic. >> but, dr. crabtree, you mentioned it had been reported on ships en route to san francisco and that several cases were definitely diagnosed among our fleet at newport, rhode island. wouldn't did have been comparatively simple to isolate these cases and control the spread of it happening at all? >> not so simple, for the reason that quarantine against influenza is not effective. had it been possible for all of the cases on board the ships to have been isolated, it would have had little effect on the actual spread of the disease because undoubtedly there were many more people on board these same ships who, by reason of a more recently acquired infection, would have shown no
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symptoms whatever of the disease and, therefore, they could not have been readily identified if they were passing through a quarantine station. >> i see. well, dr. bernie mentioned we had approximately 25,000 known cases in this nation. are they all bunched in one area of the united states, or has the virus spread all over? >> the virus has spread all over. we have some maps here in the studio that the television audience can see which graphically shows how the disease has spread in the united states, starting from newport, rhode island and the west coast. during the month of june, the disease had spread to salt lake city, utah, to grinnell, iowa, cleveland, ohio and a few cases along the east coast. if we could have the map showing
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the spread in july, we see that the disease starting from these original centers has literally moved in practically every direction throughout the country. then the final map sort of speaks for itself in that it indicates that this virus has become very well seated in practically every state in the country, certainly in every major region of the country. >> well, i think i've got a pretty good idea of how influenza spread, dr. crabtree, but i'm still wondering about the virus itself. what kind of an animal is it? >> carl, i'd like to present to you one of our staff from the national institutes of health of the public health service, dr. darwin davis, who is the associate director of our national institute of allergies
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and infectious diseases and ask him to answer any questions you may have. >> thank you, dr. bernie. dr. davis, thank you for taking your time to see us tonight. i would like to ask what might be a silly question, but what is this virus like? what is this virus? >> well, to begin with, carl, influenza is a specific disease caused by a specific virus. this virus was first isolated back in 1931 by dr. shoef at the rockefeller institute, and then in 1933 it was shown to cause human disease by a british scientist. now we know there are three major classifications of virus. types a, b and c. and more recently, a new type, fourth type, d, has been described in japan. >> well, this a, b, c and d, the fourth type, the d type, is that the asian flu? you said something about it being related to type a. that's what confuses me, the a,
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b and c. >> no. the type a influenza is the influenza which commonly causes epidemics and pandemics at intervals throughout the recent years. the asian type of virus is a type a, and it causes the kind of disease which we have had in recent years. however, the antigenic composition of this asian type is different from that which we have described in the more recent strains so that a person who is immune to the older strains is probably not immune to this new strain. and, thus, the vaccines, which have been developed in recent years by dr. francis salk and others probably have no effect on this invader from asia.
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>> i guess this is one of the reasons i never got into medical school. so every time a vaccine springs up, a new strain comes along. that explains why we don't have the live vaccine in stock? >> yes. that is right. >> i think everybody has been hearing a good deal about the asian flu story, but will a person know if he has asian flu? if so, how? >> i think he will know. sometimes his physician finds it a little difficult to diagnose it because the symptoms may be -- are similar to those caused by other respiratory viruses or respiratory bacteria. to be absolutely certain, we must use laboratory methods to make a specific diagnosis. these are generally of two kinds. one is the actual isolation of the virus, and the second is the demonstration of antibodies which appear in the blood of the
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person while he has the disease. now, this often takes a little time and it really doesn't help the patient's physician very much, but it is important to help us know what kind of disease is prevalent in the community and to discover what the type is and follow its course. >> i see. well, naturally the thing most people are concerned about is the vaccine, first of all, and particularly how it works in the system. it seems to me that being made from real asian influenza virus, wouldn't there be some danger in being vaccinated? >> no, there's no danger at all. the vaccine is completely killed during the process of being prepared. the vaccine is made by injecting this virus into fertile chicken eggs where the virus grows, and then by processing the fluids, the vaccine is made by the manufacturers.
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it requires about 40 days to manufacture and to test this vaccine. >> i see. well, dr. bernie, i can breathe a lot easier knowing a little about how this vaccine is made and that there isn't any live virus in it, and i'm certainly impressedimpressed with the way your public health team operates. i mentioned it before. it want to impress it on our viewers and for myself. up to now, i think you've given me and the rest of the audience a complete picture of the asian flu. >> well, i'd rather not comment we've give an complete picture because we left out one of the most important groups of our total team in meeting the challenge of this new asian influenza. that's the american medical association which represents the physicians throughout our entire country. we have worked with them from the beginning of this, and have had complete support and understanding from that group, and i would like to present to you here now the secretary general manager of the american
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medical association, dr. george lowe. >> thank you again, doctor. pleasure to have you coming here tonight. i believe your home port would be chicago. >> that's right. >> doctor, can you explain further about this possible flu ep dem snick. >> in the medical profession we have three responsibilities in planning for a possible medical pandemic. keeping the doctors informed on the progress of the disease, spearheading the mobilization of all medical personnel who will be concerned with the caring for the sick and informing the public on what to do once the virus is struck. the doctors are being informed about asian influenza through our weekly journal and through many scientific periodicals published by the various states and county medical societies. they're being encouraged to cooperate with the public health service in detecting the presence of the virus and the
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spread from community to community. they are being provided with late reports on the technical aspects of the disease, and with instructions regarding the administration of the vaccine. the american medical association has asked every local medical society to organize a committee of those who would be involved in an epidemic so that an agreement can be reached in advance on such matters as vaccine priority, the handling of hospital admission procedures and so forth. and if an epidemic does strike, the medical profession will use every means of communication possible in pamphlets, newspaper, radio and television to tell the general public what to do. it is important we feel that families know the symptoms of the disease and the basic points to follow in home care of the flu victim. >> well, what are the symptoms,
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doctor? >> well, the asian influenza is argument characterized by a rapid onset high fever, often has high as 104 diseases, aching muscles and extreme weakness. the recognition of symptoms is important in an epidemic. once the asian flu takes hold in the community, why, you'll know what it is without checking the symptoms. >> well, when you do get asian flu, doctor, how do you care for it at home? >> ideally your doctor should be called and his instructions followed. however, in an epidemic situation, he may not be able to give your case his complete attention. in that event, these are things to remember. first, keep away from others. second, go to bed. third, drink a lot of fluids. water and fruit juices, and fourth, if your doctor recommends it, take a fever
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reducing agent. and fifth, call your doctor if any unusual symptoms develop. >> what do you mean by unusual symptoms? >> well, primarily those that would indicate the onset of some lung involvement, a heavy cough, rapid breathing, blueness of the lips. >> i see. thank you very much, doctor. now i'm going to ask dr. bernie if he would summarize our discussion. >> this fall and winter we may see serious outbreaks of influenza in the united states as a consequence of the epidemics which began last april in the far east. unlike similar instances in the past, however, we believe that the size and severity of the epidemics can in this -- be minimized in this country. thus, it is the opinion of experts that there is no need for hysteria or panic. the influenza is concerned in
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the first place. we are prepared for the invasion, and in the second place, we now have the means through a new vaccine to help prevent this influenza. perhaps the story of infection by influenza virus can best be summarized in this manner. there is a pandemic, a worldwide epidemic of asian influenza which has attacked most of the nations of the world. laboratory tests have shown that it has reached the united states, attacking both military and civilian personnel. the virus causing this influenza has been isolated and recognized as a member of the familiar type of a various. an effective and safe vaccine has been developed as a preventive and currently is in production by six pharmaceutical houses in this country. at the present time, asian
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influenza can best be classified as a mild virus disease which attacks many people but has a very low death rate. experts say that it is probable that an epidemic will occur in this nation sometime between late fall and early winter. for the first time in history, a nation, our own united states, is in the fortunate position of being ahead of an impending epidemic and thus, has had the time to organize for an all-out offensive against asian influenza. there is always the possibility of an increase in veer lens of the infection as the infection increases, but the new vaccine has been shown effective in studies conducted by the military and should be an excellent weapon to combat the disease if the epidemic
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progresses. when the vaccine is made available for public use, the public health service and the american medical association hope the nation as a whole will participate in a voluntary program of vaccination against the prevalence of this influenza. rest assured that there is no need for alarm, panic or hysteria. if there is a change in the situation, you will be informed immediately through the public education channels of your american medical association, united states public health service, and state and territorial health officers. this program by the way, which is a result of the combined efforts of organized medicine, private industry, and education is an excellent example of the type of public information and education we are setting up. in closing, i would like to urge you to make use of the vaccine
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when it becomes available, knowing meanwhile that you will cooperate with the medical profession and the public health authorities if it becomes necessary to set up priorities for those groups responsible for public welfare and safety and who must continue their important services if others of us are temporarily incapacitated by asian influenza. >> doctor, i'm sure i speak for all who have been with us during this program when i say how much we appreciate all of you gentlemen taking your valuable time to come here so that we might be better informed on asian flu and what is being done about it. participants on tonight's show have been the surgeon general of the united states public health service, associate dean of the university of pittsburgh, graduate school of public health, associate director in charge of research of the
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national institute of allergy and infectious diseases, united states public health services, secretary and general manager of the american medical association. the silent invader was written by tom coleman. produced by roger wolfe. directed by jack simon. script research by rosemary scarpiello. the silent invader has been brought by a public service. the public health service of the u.s. department of health education and welfare. and the university of pittsburgh health center. weeknights this month, we're featuring american history tv programs as a preview of what's available every weekend on c-span3. tonight, we look at crime and forensics. bruce goalfar author of "18 tiny
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deaths" shows us several doll house sized crime scenes using for training classes in the chief medical examiner's office of maryland. he relates the story of miss lee who constructed the die ram mas in the mid 1940s and helped pioneer the science of crime scene investigation. watch tonight beginning at 8:00 p.m. eastern and enjoy american history tv every weekend on c-span3. american history tv on c-span3. every weekend documenting america's story. funding for american history tv comes from these companies who support c-span3 as a public service.

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