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Before Ebola: U.S. Government's Role in Controlling Contagious Disease.: Before Ebola Exhibit
Public Health General Info

Research Guide to Accompany Before Ebola Exhibit, Robert W. Woodurff Library,Level 2, Summer 2015

The Before Ebola Exhibit, March 28-summer 2015




                                                                                    Patients being treated in Spanish flu pandemic 1918/1919

Today we face Ebola but contagious disease has always been part of America's history.  Smallpox, yellow fever, Spanish Influenza, venereal disease, and HIV/AIDS have threatened the outcome of the American Revolution, closed schools and theaters, prompted mass evacuations of cities, and turned neighbors against each other. The numbers of lives lost has been staggering: 675,000 Americans died from the Spanish flu pandemic in 1918/1919; almost the same number have died from HIV/AIDS.

The Before Ebola exhibit examines the federal government's role in the fight against contagious disease, seen through the history of specific epidemics. It is drawn from the Woodruff Library's collection of United States documents and federal websites.  It reveals the government's efforts to

  • Understand through research the cause of disease, its spread, and prevention techniques.
  • Prevent the spread of contagious disease through screening, quarantine, and the administration of vaccination programs.
  • Inform local health officials, medical personnel and the general public by being a timely and reliable surce of information about outbreaks, treatment, and prevention of disease as well as a promoter of good health.


This exhibit, curated by Emory Librarians Elizabeth McBride and Christopher Palazzolo, will run on Level 2 of the Woodruff Library from March 28th through June 2015.

Public Health General Documents Resources



Furman, Bess.  A Profile of the United States Public Health Service, 1798-1948. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office,  1973. (Sudoc : HE20.3602:P96/798-948)

Health in America: 1776-1976. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1976. (Sudoc: HE20.6002:H34/3/776-976)

Kondratas, Ramunas. Images from the History of the Public Health Service: A Photographic Exhibit.  Public Health Service, 1994. (Sudoc: HE20.2:H62/6)

Public Health Reports: Historical Collection 1878-2005. Public Health Reports, vol. 121, 2006 Supplement 1. (Sudoc HE20.30:121/Supp. 1)


Public Health Reports, vol. 1, 1878-date.  ( );                            Selected paper at Sudocs T27.6: and HE20.30:

Official journal of the Public Health Service, published in accordance with the National Quarantine Act of 1878. Originally published as a weekly containing  “ information of the current prevalence of disease, the occurrence of epidemics, and related subjects.” Has a worldwide focus.  Later became a bi-monthly publication with peer reviewed articles on public health. The first occurrence of the Spanish flu in the United States was reported in the March 1918 issues of Public Health Reports. The statistical information on the geographical occurrence of disease is now published in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR)

Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), vol. 1, 1952-date ( Selected paper at Sudoc  HE20.7009:

Published weekly by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention,  MMWR is “CDC’s primary vehicle for scientific publication of timely, reliable, authoritative, objective, and useful public health information and recommendations.” 


U.S. Public Health Service

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Selected Other Websites (Keeping Up with Contagious Disease):

The Global Health Chronicles  (   An inside look at public health efforts to prevent, control and eradicate global disease including smallpox, malaria and guinea worm. A joint project of CDC and Emory.

CDC Ebola

Ebola Photo Gallery (Washington Post)

World Health Organization (WHO)

Health and Disease in Africa



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