Saturday, March 18, 2017

HistoryCamp 2017 Presentation - A History of Smallpox in Rhode Island


Long before threats to public health were coordinated by the Center for Disease Control, the response to epidemic disease handled almost entirely at the local level, with support provided only when needed from provincial governments. Using Rhode Island as a case study, this presentation outlines the provincial laws that gave sweeping authority to town officials to act in the best interest of the community. At the same time efforts by officials to prevent outbreaks in the first place through inoculation and vaccination were often met with fierce local opposition. With the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment, opposition to vaccination programs in neighboring Massachusetts were ultimately settled by the Supreme Court. And conflicting priorities over public health, civil liberties and individual freedom are alive and well today despite the victory of medical science over the variola virus...


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Somewhere near obsession...

Somewhere near obsession...