Global Health Chronicles

Dr. Lawrence Schonberger

David J. Sencer CDC Museum, Global Health Chronicles


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0:40 - Interest in infectious disease, public health and CDC

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Partial Transcript: What I would like to do, just to start out is to find out a little bit about your background and how you came to be interested in infectious diseases, public health, and CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention].

Segment Synopsis: Dr. Schoenberger talks about growing up in Ohio and the impact attending an NIH supported epidemiology-training program had on his career. He also talks about his arrival at CDC as an EIS officer.

Keywords: Berkeley, CA; C. Rammelkamp; California State Department of Health; Chicago, IL; Cutter incident; Cutter laboratory; Division of High Consequence Pathogens; infectious disease; J. Caughey; medical epidemiologist; Metropolitan General Hospital; Michael Rese Hospital; National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases; Oberlin, OH; paralytic poliomyelitis; Philadelphia, PA; Pion and Public Health Office; R. Dyer; Salk vaccine; U.S. Surgeon General

Subjects: Case Western Reserve University Medical School; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); Emory University; Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS); epidemiology; National Institutes of Health (NIH); Oberlin College; poliomyelitis; public health; Temple Medical School; Vietnam War

7:14 - Dr. Schoenberger talks about his initial position in EIS at CDC and how it led him to wok on things like polio, Reye syndrome, and Venezuelan equine encephalitis.

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Partial Transcript: What was your initial position as an EIS officer at CDC? Did it influence your interest and involvement in poliomyelitis?

Keywords: Atlanta, GA; Bureau of Epidemiology; C. Tyler; Chicago, IL; Division of Viral Diseases; Dr. Hochberg; F. Hochberg; Family Panning and Evaluation Division; J. McGowan; M. Hatch; Mexico, Texas; Neurotropic Viral Diseases Unit; New York, NY; Reye syndrome; Trinidad; vaccine-associated paralytic poliomyelitis; Venezuelan Equine Encephalitis (VEE)

Subjects: CDC; EIS; Pan American Health Organization (PAHO); poliomyelitis; public health

13:17 - Polio situation in U.S.

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Partial Transcript: Before going into more detail about your experience in Trinidad, would you describe the domestic situation with polio when you joined CDC?

Segment Synopsis: Dr. Schoenberger describes polio as a public health issue in the U.S. and the use of both OPV and IPV polio vaccines to combat the epidemic. He also talks about the different types of polioviruses and the technology that is now available to distinguish between polio types.

Keywords: Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice (ACIP); Chicago, IL; eradicate; Greenwich, CT; inactivated poliomyelitis vaccine (IPV); J. Salk; Mexico; O. Kew; oral poliomyelitis vaccine (OPV); paralytic poliovirus; Sabin vaccine; Texas; Thomas Francis Field Trials; United States; wild poliovirus

Subjects: CDC; poliomyelitis; public health; vaccine

GPS: Trinidad and Tobago
Map Coordinates: 10.6918° N, 61.2225° W

22:50 - Reyes v. Wyeth case

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Partial Transcript: Did not the important Reyes case arise from one of these outbreaks in Texas that you mentioned?

Segment Synopsis: Dr. Schonberger describes the story of the Reyes vs. Wyeth case and the impact it had on Wyeth laboratories.

Keywords: A. Reyes; B. Dull; immunization; J. McGowan; N. Nathanson; paralytic poliomyelitis; Reyes case; Texas; wild poliovirus; Wyeth laboratory

Subjects: American Academy of Pediatrics; CDC; EIS; immunization

27:10 - Continued work on vaccine-associated paralytic polio

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Partial Transcript: In mid-1973, after I completed my two-year EIS officer assignment.

Segment Synopsis: Dr. Schonberger talks about how the Reyes case increased the attention given to vaccine-associated paralytic polio and how his interest in polio grew during this time.

Keywords: A. Sabin; American Journal of Epidemiology; Cutter incident; J. Salk; oral polio vaccine (OPV); P. Stolley; Salk vaccine; trivalent oral polio vaccine (tOPV)

Subjects: CDC; EIS; epidemiology; John's Hopkins School of Public Health; polio-virus; poliomyelitis

31:55 - Cutter incident/linking vaccine-associated paralytic polio to manufacturers

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Partial Transcript: Did the Cutter incident involve tainted inactivated poliomyelitis vaccine?

Segment Synopsis: Dr. Schonberger talks about the Cutter incident and how CDC linked paralytic polio cases to certain vaccine manufacturers.

Keywords: A. Langmuir; Berkeley, California; California; Cutter Company; Cutter incident; Cutter laboratories; Cutter vaccine; N. Nathanson; R. Dyer; United States; Wyeth laboratory

Subjects: CDC; EIS; Food and Drug Administration (FDA); poliomyelitis; poliovirus; vaccine

36:12 - Impact of Cutter incident on CDC polio program

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Partial Transcript: What were some of the impacts of the Cutter incident on CDC and the polio control program?

Segment Synopsis: Dr. Schonberger talks about how the Cutter incident helped establish CDC as a key player in national disease surveillance. He also talks about how Cutter affected manufacturing standards for vaccines and the tensions that arose between advocates for the Sabin and Salk vaccines.

Keywords: A. Langmuir; A. Sabin; Bureau of Biologics; Connaught Laboratories; Cutter incident; Finland Segment Synopsis: Cutter incident; Finland; Francis Field Trial; Guillain-Barre Syndrome; IPV; J. Breman; J. Salk; Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA); L. Kurland; M. Gregg; Mali; Merieux Institute; N. Nathanson; National Influenza Immunization Program; oral polio virus vaccine (OPV); paralytic poliomyelitis; Rijks Institute; Russia; Salk vaccine; Soviet Union; Special Advisory Committee to the Surgeon General; Sweden; swine flu; U.S. Special Advisory Committee; United States; Upper Volta

Subjects: CDC; Cold War; National Institutes of Health (NIH); poliomyelitis; U.S. Justice Department; United States Public Health Service (U.S.P.H.S.); vaccine; WHO

53:41 - Oral poliovirus vaccine-associated polio in 1970s

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Partial Transcript: Later on in the 1970's you reported on the U.S. cases of OPV-associated poliomyelitis that were continuing to occur after the recommendations of the 1964 Special Advisory Committee.

Segment Synopsis: Dr. Schonberger talks about the Institute of Medicine's decision to change U.S. vaccine policy following the Cutter incident and the importance of OPV in controlling polio in the United States.

Keywords: B. Nkowane; IPV; J. Salk; M. Gregg; Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR); OPV; paralytic polio; United States; vaccine-associated poliomyelitis (VAPP); wild poliovirus

Subjects: CDC; Institute of Medicine (IOM); poliomyelitis; public health

64:53 - 1972 Connecticut polio outbreak

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Partial Transcript: How did you first learn about the 1972 outbreak?

Segment Synopsis: Dr. Schonberger talks about the 1972 polio outbreak that occurred in a Christian Science community in Greenwich Connecticut and the reasons such an outbreak was possible.

Keywords: A. Langmuir; acute paralytic polio; Amish paralytic poliomyelitis; Christian Science; Connecticut; Connecticut State Health Department; D. Andrews; IPV; Long Island, NY; Massachusetts; Mexico; New Hampshire; New York; New York, NY; O. Kew; OPV; wild poliovirus

Subjects: aseptic meningitis; CDC; EIS; poliomyelitis; poliovirus; vaccine

79:53 - Last wild poliovirus outbreak in U.S.

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Partial Transcript: You mentioned that your experience with the 1972 outbreak influenced your response to the last wild poliovirus outbreak in the United States.

Segment Synopsis: Dr. Schonberger talks about the last U.S. polio outbreak that occurred amongst an Amish community in Pennsylvania in 1979. He also talks about the lessons he learned about the challenges associated with mass vaccination amongst religious groups who do not routinely vaccinate.

Keywords: Amish; Canada; Chicago, IL; China; Christian Scientists; Dutch; Epidemiologic Assistance (Epi-Aid); H. Schmeck; Iowa; J. Salk; Lancaster County; M. Millar; M. Moore; Maryland; Mennonite; Michigan; Missouri; Netherlands; New York Times; O. Kew; Ontario, Canada; OPV; paralytic poliomyelitis; Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania State Health Department; polio surveillance; R. Gens; Science Times; serological studies; The Budget; Turkey; United States; vaccine-associated paralytic poliomyelitis (VAPP); wild poliovirus; Wisconsin

Subjects: CDC; immunize; poliomyelitis; poliovirus; vaccine

91:29 - Polio surveillance post 1979

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Partial Transcript: After 1979, what was happening concerning U.S. polio surveillance is that it became surveillance of vaccine-associated disease?

Segment Synopsis: Dr. Schonberger talks about the CDC's shift to polio surveillance after 1979 and changes in his professional responsibilities during the 1980's towards Reye syndrome, influenza vaccine, and Guillain-Barre syndrome.

Keywords: B. Foege; Bureau of Epidemiology; Center for Infectious Diseases; Center for Preventive Services; Division of Viral Diseases; Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS); iatrogenic Cruetzfeldt-Jakob disease; Immunization Division; Reye Syndrome; W. Dowdle

Subjects: acquired immuno-deficiency syndrome (AIDS); CDC; polio; Surveillance

93:30 - Global polio eradication

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Partial Transcript: When endemic wild poliovirus was eliminated from the United States, were people thinking that eliminating it globally would be possible?

Segment Synopsis: Dr. Schonberger talks about his perspective on the possibility of global polio eradication and notes reasons why polio eradication is more challenging than smallpox eradication.

Keywords: California State Health Department; eradicate; J. Chin; M. Gregg; paralytic poliomyelitis; sanitation; United States

Subjects: CDC; poliovirus; smallpox

95:21 - Work as a poliomyelitis consultant for WHO in Trinidad

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Partial Transcript: Tell us about some of your own experiences serving as a consultant on poliomyelitis control in less industrialized countries.

Segment Synopsis: Dr. Schonberger talks about seeing the challenges to polio eradication firsthand while serving as a PAHO and WHO consultant in Trinidad and Tobago.

Keywords: Burma; Carnival; Egypt; J. Chin; OPV; P. Ardoin; Port-of-Spain; Tobago; tOPV; Trinidad; Trinidad Regional Virology Laboratory

Subjects: epidemic; immunization; Pan American Health Organization (PAHO); poliomyelitis; vaccine; World Health Organization (WHO)

104:42 - Work as WHO consultant in Burma

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Partial Transcript: When you served as a WHO consultant in Burma, did you find similar vaccination problems to those you found in Trinidad?

Segment Synopsis: Dr. Schonberger talks about the challenges he saw to polio eradication in Burma while working as a WHO consultant. He also shares his memories about Burmese culture to contextualize the polio situation there.

Keywords: Atlanta, GA; Burma; Development of Biological Standardization Journal; Geneva, Switzerland; Irrawaddy River; Ministry of Health; New Delhi, India; Rangoon; wild poliovirus

Subjects: poliomyelitis; poliovirus; vaccine; Word Health Organization (WHO)

110:35 - Work as a poliomyelitis consultant for WHO in Egypt

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Partial Transcript: After Burma, when and why were you asked to consult on polio in Egypt?

Segment Synopsis: Dr. Schonberger talks about serving as a short-term polio consultant in Egypt and discovering the country had high rates of polio despite high rates of vaccination. He also talks about the important role IPV has played in eradicating polio worldwide.

Keywords: Alexandria, Egypt; Burma; Egypt; eradicate; IPV; OPV; paralytic poliomyelitis; tOPV; Trinidad; United States; wild poliovirus

Subjects: epidemiology; polio; poliomyelitis; public health; vaccine; WHO

118:04 - Closing

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Partial Transcript: Dr. Schonberger, you have provided some vivid details to the polio story that we otherwise would not have known.

Segment Synopsis: Dr. Schonberger closes by noting his belief in the importance of preserving history.

Keywords: IPV; OPV

Subjects: polio; World Health Organization (WHO)