More than three hundred doctors, health officers, and laboratory scientists from all parts of the country will attend a special symposium on "The Public Health Significance of the Virus and Rickettsial Diseases," to be offered by the School of Public Health next week, Monday, June 12 to Saturday, June 17.
The purpose of the symposium is to survey the knowledge and investigations to date of one of the newest and most important fields of medical investigation,--the study and control of diseases involving virus agents so minute as to be beyond the range of the most powerful microscopes, and to pass easily through the finest filters.
Those agents have been known to doctors for nearly fifty years, but have been the object of precision study for only about twenty years. It is now known that those agents cause numerous diseases, including some of the most important epidemic diseases.
Infantile, Flu Traced to Virus
Among the diseases traced to viruses are infantile paralysis, yellow fever, influenza, small pox, measles, palltacosis, encephalitis, distemper, and rabics. Medical scientists regard the study of viruses as ranking in importance with that of bacteriology, and the rapid development of knowledge in this field since 1920 as one of the most brilliant advances in the history of medical research.
Rickettsial diseases are those associated with the presence of minute, parasitical microorganisms, believed to be transmitted largely by lice and ticks. They will be taken up at the symposium because they are sometimes associated with virus diseases, and until a few years ago there was some confusion between rickettsial conditions and those caused by virus agents.
Faculty Members Lecture
In the symposium next week, faculty members and former students of the School of Public Health and the Medical School will offer a series of lectures, demonstrations, clinics, and discussions on the etiology, epidemiology, and methods of control of some of the most important virus and rickettsial diseases. The attempt will be to bring together, through surveys of research and literature, the reliable results of investigation in this relatively new field up to the present time.
The symposium will meet each morning for lectures at Vanderbilt Hall. Afternoons will be given over to clinics and demonstrations at the Medical School laboratories and associated hospitals. Registration for the symposium will take place this weekend at the School of Public Health offices.
Saltonstall Opens Meeting
The five day meeting will be formally opened Monday morning at 10 o'clock with a greeting by Governor Leverett Saltonstall '14, Chairman of the University Overseers Visiting Committee to the School of Public Health.
The Harvard committee in charge of arrangements for the symposium includes: Dr. LeRoy D. Fothergill, chairman; Dean Cecil K. Drinker; Philip Drinker; Dr. John E. Gordon; Dr. Edward G. Huber; and Dr. Charles F. McKhann