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Infectious Disease History

This year we celebrate 50 years of mumps vaccination in America, helping to make chipmunk cheeks and swollen testicles a thing of our...
Rectangular cardboard box labeled "Rabies Vaccine (Duck Embryo)" in a printed label. It is half open. Inside, vials with liquid are visible.
Antibodies are always looking out for us, and this week we're taking a closer look at them. Antibody-based tests, vaccines, and drugs have...
On the left there is a box with bright green and red packaging. On the right there are two vials with the same red and green packaging as the box.
Antibodies are always looking out for us, and this week we're taking a closer look at them. This is the fourth post in our Antibodies Week...
A long history of attempts at treating plague are represented in the museum's collections. Clockwise: a bottle to hold a preparation of scorzonera, or viper’s grass; a container used to store a paste of eggs, honey, and other ingredients; a jar intended for pulverized bezoars; and a bezoar formed from ingested hair in the stomach of an ox.
Antibodies are always looking out for us, and this week we're taking a closer look at them. Antibody-based tests, vaccines, and drugs have...
Three amber-colored bottles that resemble upside down bells with handles. They have yellowed labels on them.
Antibodies are always looking out for us, and this week we're taking a closer look at them. Antibody-based tests, vaccines, and drugs have...
An open brown box. The top of the box has a label reading "via air mail" and a stamp that says refrigerate, but no other markings. Insides the open box, there is a pipette and other components of the pregnancy test.
Antibodies are always looking out for us, and this week we're taking a closer look at them. Antibody-based tests, vaccines, and drugs have...
Postcard-sized illustration in color featuring three children. Two little boys light fireworks and play with toy soldiers while a little girl covers her ears and clutches a doll. Text reads "Wishing you a glorious 4th of July" in gold.
"The coming stupendous holocaust, caused by the sky-rocket, the giant fire cracker and the toy pistol, that leaves an annual trail of...
women sit in rows in a room using microscopes
I dare not eat / A dead pig's meat / Though not of creed of Moses /For, oh, I fear / From what I hear, / That horrid trichinosis—...
"Fight Infantile Paralysis" metal button
Giving blood, getting a flu shot, raising money for a cure—plenty of Americans participate every day to help secure the health...
Poster with white background. "Free Clinic - Dec. 6, 1969" "Let your child be a rubella hero." Image of defeated dragon.
Eliminating or lowering rates of communicable disease often requires that we participate together in the battle against infectious disease...
Dennis the Menace with stethoscope and "Less of a Menace" text on button or sticker
Metaphors of war and combat are almost impossible to avoid when describing humankind's struggle to control infectious disease. The war may...
At the first sign of symptoms, many people turn to the Internet for health advice. Early listeners to radio could turn their dials and...
Detail of the cover of "The Quest," which includes illustrations of a baby and a dog
In 1926 seven-year-old Belema Siegfried was turned away from school. The reason? Her parents had refused to submit paperwork proving that...
Each year in August, National Immunization Awareness Month provides an opportunity to highlight the value of immunization across the...
Colorful poster with cartoon-like people traveling to be vaccinated in comic-like scenes. WHO logo in center.
At the height of the Cold War, Soviet and American scientists and physicians united to call for a new and very different war—one on...
Woman sitting on couch with turquoise fabric in her lap, holding some of its folds. Smiling. Gray couch, bookshelf in background.
Curator Dr. Katherine Ott invited students in Dr. Samuel J. Redman's Museum/Historic Site Interpretation Seminar to explore the museum's...
Measles sign
In 1904 C. A. Lindsley, the secretary of the Connecticut State Board of Health, complained that "measles is still prevailing in an epidemic...
Diane Wendt, associate curator in the Division of Medicine and Science, shares objects from the museum's collection that offers a glimpse...
intubation kit
As part of her work on a partnership between this museum and the National Library of Medicine, Project Assistant Mallory Warner researched...
With flu season in the headlines, curator Diane Wendt in the Division of Medicine and Science looks back at flu prevention dating to 1918....
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Editor's note: This post was originally posted on the Smithsonian Collections Blog. December 1st is World AIDS Day.   Helping...
NMAH is participating in “Quilt in the Capital” with 24 panels on display in the Hall of Musical Instruments, hosting the AIDS 2012 Film...
Person with gloves and specialized equipment and fact mask in lab setting
It’s been 30 years since the first cases of HIV and AIDS were reported and, since then, the disease has created a...
Button with "National AIDS Vigil" text in white on black background
Editor's Note: This is the fifth post in a series exploring the 30th anniversary of HIV and AIDS. Beginning last June 3, the National...
Quilt spread out with many people looking at it, some kneeling
Editor’s Note: This is the fourth post in a series exploring the 30th anniversary of HIV and AIDS. Beginning on June 3, the National Museum...
Color photograph of four people in which shirts, arms inter-linked, walking on or standing in street during daytime, parade crowd in background
Editor’s Note: This is the second post in a series exploring the 30th anniversary of HIV and AIDS. Beginning on June 3, the National Museum...
This summer will mark 30 years since the first official reports of HIV and AIDS. It was not called that back then, of course...
Time magazine cover with text: "AIDS The Growing Threat / What's Being Done"
AIDS - The Growing Threat, What’s Being Done. Time Magazine, Aug. 12, 1985.Editor’s note: The museum is planning a special display of...
I did not get my flu shot last fall. The threat of, or at least the media attention about, “avian flu” had abated, and I missed the...