National blog posts undergraduates’ research on historic global epidemic
October 8, 2014
Three reports researched and written by several Virginia Tech undergraduate students taking part in the Russian Flu Project were posted recently on Circulating Now, a blog of the National Library of Medicine.
Marin Shipe of Chantilly, Virginia, a senior majoring in communication and French, Veronica Kimmerly of Fredericksburg, Virginia, a senior majoring in chemical engineering and mathematics, and Nicholas Mehfoud of Midlothian, Virginia, a senior majoring in biological sciences, were the authors of “Mapping the 1889-1890 Russian Flu.”
Posted in Aug. 11, the article describes the outbreak of the influenza-like illness in November 1889 and maps the spread of the disease around the globe.
Posted Aug. 13, “The Russian Flu in the News” was written by Emily Oliver of Timonium, Maryland, a senior history major, Anna Pope of Reston, Virginia, a sophomore history major, Madison Rawles of Christiansburg, Virginia, a senior chemistry major, and May graduate Grayson Van Beuren.
The post describes how the international news media reported on the spread of the disease, publishing stories based on scarce, often exaggerated, information.
Veronica O’Rourke of Falls Church, Virginia, a senior majoring in biological sciences and Spanish, Alexis Abraham of Severn, Virginia, a senior majoring in human development, and May graduate Crystal Velasco, wrote “A Physician’s Perspective on the Russian Flu.”
Posted Aug. 15, the article describes the challenges faced by medical personnel to identify and control a puzzling, often deadly, disease that presented varied symptoms among patients.
Virginia Tech’s Russian Flu Project is directed by Tom Ewing, professor of history and associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. The students’ work is the basis for a co-authored book chapter on the global and local dimensions of the disease. Ewing noted that these posts are the first by undergraduates to ever appear on the NLM blog.
The students worked with materials at the History of Medicine Division of the NLM in Bethesda, Maryland. They participated in a seminar led by leading U.S. experts on influenza and conducted research with NLM resources in several languages.
A division of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, the NLM is the world’s largest biomedical library. It maintains and makes available to the public a vast store of print and electronic information on a wide range of topics. The blog Circulating Now has nearly 215,000 followers.