tv Reel America The Silent Invader - 1957 CSPAN April 7, 2021 4:58pm-5:29pm EDT
the mid 1940s at hard university and who 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. 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 ivy. throughout history, mankind has been forced to wage battles in order to protect his family or nation against misfortune, disaster or even possible extinction. now sometimes these wars have been, well have been catastrophic. there was the cat aft free of 1918 which a epidemic swept through our own nation as well as the entire world. unlike the battle of nation against nation or humanity against the forces of nature, when man has often had an opportunity to prepare himself, the battles against disease throughout the sentures have found man to combat this enemy after he's 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 alertness and efficiency of the united states public health service, and the world health organization, a detection system, similar to that of the 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 as such portions as in the 1918 epidemic. now the man upon whose shoulders rest the possibility for preparing the united states for asian influenza is dr. leroy bernie, surgeon general of the united states public health service. dr. bernie, i imagine you and your staff have been gathering quite a tremendous amount of material on asian flu. now it seems to me that everybody i know has had and has
talked about influenza but i don't think anybody really knows what it is. >> well, carl, it is one of the upper respiratory infections, something like a cold only it is caused by flu virus. and the difference between the asian influenza and the influenza that we've been having, all of these past few years, is&f%,p8■ that this stran in the strain -- 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 and i'm sure it is in yours too. why are we suddenly so all concerned about it now? >> well, that is a very good question. we are concerned because in the other countries in which it is 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 have had flu strike here, you would have approximately 200,000 people who would become ill in a four to six-week period and this of course would make a tremendous impact upon the economy of this particular area. >> that is understandable. well we've all heard of outbreaks here in this country, dr. bernie. exactly how far has it spread? >> well it is spread all over the united states. the first cases occurred surprisingly enough on the east coast rather than on the west coast, among the navy personnel at newport, rhode island and then was in navy and military personnel in san diego. since that time, which was about the first of june, it has spread and localized outbreaks through the boy scout jamboree in
pennsylvania and to all of the states in the united states. >> i didn't realize that actually that was asian flu that hit the jamboree. >> that is right, it was. >> from what i've been able to learn, not many people have died as a result of asian influenza and the rest of the world, now you think the same will hold true here in the united states? >> we have the belief now based upon the experience of asian influenza and the other countries in south america at the present time where it is an epidemic proportions and as a result of the outbreaks 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 it a possibility that asian influenza might turn into, if i might use the word, a killer? >> well that is a possibility, of course. and that has happened in
preceding years when we've 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 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 the 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 the conditions are quite different now than they were then. in the first place, we have a mild strain of influenza, not a virulent strain and then we have the antibiotics which we do not
have in 1918. >> well, doctor, with the disease spreading so rapidly, what exactly now are we doing combat it? >> wul actually, carl, we're trying to do three things. one is to develop as rapidly as possible the only agent we have against influenza and that is the vaccine against this particular strain of the vaccine, 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, state and health officers and volunteer groups and others to take care of those who become ill. and finally the matter of having an alert and 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 to have an alert but not an alarmed public. >> well, dr. bernie, you and your public health service crew, if i could use that word, crew, have seems to make great strides to get us ready for this possible epidemic in such a very short time. >> we've had a lot of help, i could assure you carl, in doing this. it hasn't been a one man or one
organization goal. as i said previously, we have had the full cooperation and support of the american medical association in both the educational and the medical care part and then in working with the manufacturers to get them to manufacture the vaccine and to stop other activities and build up their staff, i think we could all be proud of the industry which we have in this country. it is another example of the know-how and the expeditious way in which the enterprise through our american industry to do a good job. the vaccine or the virus was given to the industries about the middle of may and within three months vaccine was being released through our national institute of health as being both a safe and effective vaccine and that seems to me a good example of both team work and a very expeditious work by the manufacturers.
other example of this team work and to illustrate that 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 associate dean of the university of pittsburgh graduate school of public health who will discuss how asian influenza has spread throughout the world. >> well thank you very much, dr. bernie and i'm also glad that dr. crabtree is here with us tonight too. how do you do? we've been discussing the fact that the asian influenza has discovered a lot of territory in a short time but i would like to know how did it all get started? >> well, the exact point of origin of the influenza virus is of courseu2b 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 remains so throughout the rest of the month. from hong kong and singapore, the disease rapidly in early may moved to the island of hermosa and here it is estimated that as many as half a million people were attacked within a relatively short time. from hermosa, also during the month of may, the disease next made its appearance in borneo and japan. and from the major shipping centers,-)b8o-p■ from these c areas scattered into widely separated places as malia, 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 on route from australia to san francisco. the first appearance of the disease in the united states was on june 2nd. this date is important because it means only a short six weeks from the time that the first cases were reported in china, they occurred in the united states. this indicates the great repeat that influenza and influenza-like diseases could 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 pilgrimage to mecca. so that finally in late july, in early july the disease made its appearance in chile, in south america. so in three short months, every continent on the globe had been involved in this great pandemic. >> well dr. crabtree, you mentioned that it had been reported on trips on route to san francisco and several cases were definitely diagnosed among our fleet at newport, rhode island. wouldn't it have been simple to isolated these known cases and prevented the spread of them and kept them from coming in at all. >> unfortunately, 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 symptoms whatsoever of the disease and therefore they could not have readily identified if they were passing through a quarentine station. >> i see. well dr. bernie mentioned we have 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 could 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 grenell, iowa, cleveland, ohio, and a few cases along the east coast. if we could have the map from -- showing the spread in july, we see that the disease starting from these original centers has literally moving 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 seeded in practically every state in the country, certainly in every major region of the country. >> i think i have a good idea of how influenza spreads, dr. crabtree, but i'm wondering about the virus itself. what kind of an animal is it.
>> i'd like to present to you one of our staff from the national institutes of health, dr. dar lynn davis who is the associate director of our national institute of allergy and infectious disease and ask him to answer any questions that you may have had. >> fine. thank you again. dr. bernie. take your time to come see us tonight. i'm going to ask what is going to see like a silly question, but what is this virus like? what is this virus? >> well to begin with, influenza is a specific disease caused by a specific virus. this virus was first isolated back in 1931 by dr. shelf, the rockefeller institute and subsequently in 1933 it was shown to cause human disease by british scientists. now we know that there are three major classifications of virus. types a., b., and c. and more recently, a new type of
fourth type that has been described in japan. >> mm-hmm. well this a., b., c. and d., is that the asian influenza. you said being related to type a., that is what confuses me, the a., b., and c. >> it commonly causes epidemics and pandemic at intervals throughout the recent years. now the asian type of virus is a type a. and it is causing the kind of disease which we have had in recent years. so, now, however, the antigenic composition 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 the recent years by doctors francis sock and others, have no probably no effect on this invader from asia. >> guess this is one of the reasons i never get into medical school. so a new vaccine has to be made each time a new strain comes along, is that correct? >> yes. >> that explains why we don't have this vaccine in stock, the live vaccine in stock. >> yes. that is right. >> well i think everybody has been hearing a good deal with the asian flu story but will a person know if he has asian flu and if so how? >> well, i think he will know. sometimes it is difficult to diagnose it. because the symptoms may be are similar to those caused by other respiratory virus or actually respiratory bacteria. so that to be absolutely
certain, we must use laboratory methods to make a specific diagnosis. these are generally two kinds. one is the actual isolation of the virus. or the second is the demonstration of antibodies which are appearing in the blood of the person while he has a disease. and this takes time and really doesn't have the patient's position very much but it is important for us to know what kind of disease is priv lent in community and to discover what 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, would there be some danger in being vaccinated. >> no, there is no danger at all. the vaccine is completely killed
during the process of being prepared. it is made by injecting into fertile chicken eggs. where the virus grows and then by processing the fluids of the vaccine it is made by the manufacturers. it requires about 40 days to manufacture and to test this vaccine. >> i see. well dr. bernie, i could breathe a lot easier knowing how the vaccine is made and there isn't any live virus in it and i'm certainly impressed with the way your public health team operates. i mentioned it before and i want to impress that on you for our viewer as well as myself. up until now i think you've given me and the rest of the audience a complete picture of the asian flu. >> well i rather doubt that we've given you a complete picture because we left out one of the most important groups of our total team and meeting the challenge of this new asian influenza and that is 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 would you -- would like to present to you the assistant general manager dr. george lowe. >> thank you again, doctor. a pleasure to have you here. i believe your home port would be chicago. >> that is right. >> and you could explain about the possible flu epidemic. >> well the medical profession has three responsibilities. 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 and in detecting the presence of the virus and the spread from community to community, they're 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 society to organize a committee of those who would be involved in an epidemic so that an agreement could be reached in advance on such matters as vaccine priority, the handling of trench ant and hospital admission procedures and so forth. and if an epidemic does strike, the medical professions will use every means of communication
possible, pamphlets, newspaper, and 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. >> what are the symptoms, dr. lowe? >> well, at the asian influenza is characterized by rapid on set of high fever, often high as 104 degrees, headache, sore throat, aching muscles and extreme weakness. the recognition of symptoms is important early in an epidemic. once the asian flu takes hold in a community, why you'll know what it is without checking the moms. >> well when you do get asian flu, how do you care for it at home. >> your doctor should be called and his instructions followed. however, in a epidemic situation you may not be able to give your case 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-reduced 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. well thank you very much dr. lowe. now i'm going to ask dr. bernie to summarize our discussion. >> this fall and winter, we may see serious outbreaks of influenza in the united states as a consequence of the epidemic which began last april in the far east. unlike similar instances in the past, however, we believe that
the side 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 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 could 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 definitely 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 virus. an effective and safe vaccine has been developed as a preventative and currently is in production by six pharmaceutical houses in this country. at the present time, asian influenza could 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 virulence of
the infection as the epidemic increases. however, the new vaccine has been proven effective in control studies conducted by the military and should be an excellent weapon to combat the disease if the epidemic progresses. when the vaccine is made available for public use, the public health service and the american medical association hope that the nation as a whole will participate in a voluntary program against 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 new vaccine 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 temporarilyin -- temporarily incapacitated. >> i speak for all of us with us through this program by saying how much we appreciate all of yu gentlemen to come here so we might be better informed on asian flu and what is being done about it.
participants on tonight's show has been dr. leroy bernie, dr. james crabtree, associate dean of the university of pittsburgh, graduate school of public health. dr. dorland davis, in charge of research of the national institute of allergy and infectious diseases, united states public health services. dr. george f. lowe, secretary and general manager of the american medical association. ail silent innovatered was produced by roger wolf, directed by jack simon, script research by rose marie scorp and kay mcdonough. the silent innovator is a public service by the westinghouse broadcasting company in cooperation with the american medical association. the public health service of the u.s. department of health education and welfare and the university of pittsburgh health
center. weeknight this is month, we're featuring american history tv programs as a preview of what is available every weekend on c-span3. tonight, we look at crime and forensics. bruce goldfarb author of 18 tiny deaths, the untold story of the mention of modern forensic shows us several dollhouse size crime scenes used for the chief medical examiner's office of maryland. he relates the story of miss lee who constructed the diagrams at harvard university and who 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