Pandemic of Past and Present

Canada is no stranger to the threat of large infectious disease outbreaks. Throughout history, people on the land we now call Canada experienced numerous diseases that threatened their ways of life. Cholera, Tuberculosis, 1918 Influenza, Polio, Scarlet Fever, Yellow Fever, Diphtheria, SARS, MERS – to name a few. The way we manage COVID-19 is largely based on what we have done in the past. While our strategies may have evolved and our personal protective equipment may be more effective than other PPE used in the past, there are some things that remain common factors in preventing the spread of disease. Just like the Influenza of 1918, we rely largely on warning signs, mask wearing, and quarantines during COVID-19 to stay safe. … More Pandemic of Past and Present

The Face Mask – A Life-Saving Device Pioneered by Dr. Wu Lien-teh

The history of the masks that we wear have their roots in a few different areas, including both from the medical community, as well as from the Personal Protective Equipment of firefighters and soldiers in the late 19th and early 20th century. The first surgical mask came in 1899 when Carl Flügge (1847-1923) was working on tuberculosis research when he developed his droplet theory of infection. This theory proved that microorganisms can be expelled as droplets from the respiratory tract and reach another person. Flügge, his pupils, and successors conducted further experiments to determine that droplets are especially expelled during activities of talking, coughing, blowing, and sneezing. … More The Face Mask – A Life-Saving Device Pioneered by Dr. Wu Lien-teh

The Plague Doctor, Popular Culture, and COVID-19

At the time when doctors believed that miasmic fumes were responsible for the transfer illnesses, rather than germ theory, medical professionals developed elaborate outfits to protect against the believed noxious air. The bubonic plague ravaged across Europe and Asia through the 14th to 17th centuries, with the prevailing theory was that it was caused by the miasmic theory of “malignant air”. In reality, the bubonic plague was actually spread when infected fleas from small animals entered into the human system by a flea bite. “The Plague Doctor” uniform was quite useless in assisting to protect against the disease, which killed an estimated 200 million people worldwide. But in many ways, the protective uniform worn by these doctors seems similar to what current medical professionals wear when treating those with infectious diseases. … More The Plague Doctor, Popular Culture, and COVID-19