Topic: infectious diseases

Role of lung lesions in tuberculosis explored

For years scientists have sought to unravel the mystery of why about 90% of people infected by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacteria that cause tuberculosis (TB), remain symptom-free for years, while the remaining 10% become sick and may die. A December 15, 2013…

Paving the way to the polio vaccine

The iron lung, invented by HSPH’s Philip Drinker in 1928, pulled thousands of polio sufferers back from the brink of death. But with polio still ravaging the world, scientists in the 1930s and 1940s were frantically working on a polio vaccine. The…

TB superstrains

[ Fall 2008 ] Extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis is research focus Covering 200 square kilometers of arid scrubland in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal Province, the rural district of Tugela Ferry seems to swallow its inhabitants, its parched mountain ridges shutting out the world beyond. Within the…

Making the leap

[Fall 2013 Centennial issue] Veterinarians and public health Mark Schembri, MPH ’11, never met James Steele, MPH ’42. But in his passion for understanding animalborne epidemics, Schembri is carrying on Steele’s powerful legacy. Steele—the lone veterinarian in a class of physicians at…

A man with a plan

[ Spring 2013 ] “Do I look like a man with a plan?” The slender young man with the radiant smile is mimicking a line from the villainous Joker in the second Batman movie. At first glance, the answer to his mischievous question is,…

Working the system

[ Fall 2012 ] As director of the second-largest health department in Washington State, Anthony Chen, MPH ’06, tackles all the issues—from infections to inequities—that shape people’s health. The elderly Taiwanese man had been Anthony Chen’s patient for years. When the patient…

The disease hunters

[Fall 2013 Centennial issue] A life of exploration “The sun came out early and fiercely... As the hours wore on and noon was reached at times one felt the desire to become a little hysterical and to repress a scream and throw…

The art of eradication

[Fall 2013 Centennial issue] E•rad•i•cate: 1. to pull or tear up by the roots, to remove entirely, extirpate, get rid of. 2. in public health, to achieve zero disease globally as a result of deliberate efforts. Its formal name says everything: dracunculiasis,…

The promise of big data

[ Spring/Summer 2012 ] Petabytes of raw information could provide clues for everything from preventing TB to shrinking health care costs—if we can figure out how to use them. Harvard School of Public Health microbiologist Sarah Fortune went to Camden, Maine in…

Engineering clean water

[Fall 2013 Centennial issue] When sanitary engineer Gordon Fair joined the faculty of Harvard School of Public Health in 1919, one fact seemed certain: Water could sustain life, but in many cases, it could also take it away. In the late 19th…