Historic video and audio interviews, photos and scholarly presentations were all compiled to commemorate the special moment.
Was it part of the hoopla surrounding the new Michael Jackson movie?
No, it was Emory University's celebration late last month marking the 30th anniversary of the worldwide eradication of smallpox. The occasion was used to launch an online archive hosted by Emory University Libraries at globalhealthchronicles.org. The archive will include previously unpublished field reports and oral histories of the epidemiologists and operations officers who worked in 25 African and Asian countries to stop the spread of the disease. Reports from the family members of these individuals are included as well.
As one might expect for an event like this in the Atlanta area, many retired Centers for Disease Control and Prevention employees were on hand for the festivities—including three former directors.
“Eradicating a disease is the ultimate in disease prevention,” says David Sencer, sounding very much like someone who ran the CDC between 1966 and 1977. “As smallpox is the one human infectious disease that has been completely eradicated, there's much to celebrate here.”