Global Health Chronicles

Dr. Walter Dowdle

David J. Sencer CDC Museum, Global Health Chronicles
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00:01:17 - Background/Laboratory work

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Partial Transcript: By way of getting to know you for everyone, would you just tell us a little bit about your background and how you initially came to be at the Centers for Disease Control, and when?

Segment Synopsis: : Dr. Dowdle discusses his time in working with CDC's Montgomery lab’s and the work of Doctors' Schaeffer and Li as well as the work on the first trials of the Sabin vaccine.

Keywords: A. Nahmias; C.P. Li; CDC's Montgomery lab; CDC's influenza laboratory; H. Gelfand; J. Fox; M. Hilleman; M. Schaeffer; MMR vaccine; Montgomery (AL); R. Chamberlain; R. Kissling; R. Robinson; Sabin vaccine; Salk vaccine; Taiwan; Type 1 virus; University of Alabama; anthrax; anthrax bacteria; arbovirus; arboviruses; fluorescent antibody technique; hepatitis vaccines; herpes viruses; influenza; influenza vaccines; live vaccine; measles, mumps, rubella vaccine; polio lab; poliovirus vaccine; rabies; respiratory viruses; tissue culture; virology; virology unit

Subjects: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Cutter Incident; Emory University; University of Maryland; Vaccines; poliomyelitis

00:13:10 - Laboratories

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Partial Transcript: You talked about surveillance in the lab.

Segment Synopsis: Dr. Dowdle explains how the labs at CDC monitored polio throughout the Cutter Incident, the formation of the Epidemic Intelligence Service [EIS] and the new labs of the 1960s.

Keywords: A. Langmuir; CDC's Montgomery labs; Chamblee; Maxwell Air Force Base; Montgomery, (AL); N. Nathanson; Quonset huts; bioterrorism; epidemiologist; lab equipment; plastic laboratory plates; polio virologist; tissue culture

Subjects: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC]; Cutter Incident; Epidemic Intelligence Service [EIS]; Harvard University; National Institutes of Health [NIH]; National Polio Foundation; World War II

00:23:33 - Virology studies

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Partial Transcript: What were the major changes that made the virology study more up--

Segment Synopsis: Dr. Dowdle explains how the virology labs became more sophisticated, and the growing field of molecular biology.

Keywords: F. Murphy; J. Nakano; J. Obijeski; O. Kew; Reyes; Texas; Virology division; oligonucleotide testing

Subjects: Amish; molecular biology; paralytic polio

00:29:34 - Vaccine associated polio

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Partial Transcript: So, moving ahead, after the Sabin vaccine was used and Salk was discontinued--there started to be some cases of polio that were associated with polio with the vaccine.

Segment Synopsis: Dr. Dowdle explains how VAPP [vaccine associated paralytic poliomyelitis] and CDC surveillance data was published through the MMWR [Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report].

Keywords: A. Langmuir; A. Sabin; CDC surveillance; J. Salk; Washington (DC); polio vaccines

Subjects: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U.S.); Cutter Incident; Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report [MMWR]; Vaccine-associated paralytic polio [VAPP]

00:34:51 - CDC Partnerships

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Partial Transcript: So, were there other organizations that were involved in various stages of polio work that you can think of, that collaborated with CDC?

Segment Synopsis: Dr. Dowdle describes how polio eradication work is a collaborative process and how the CDC works with local and state health departments.

Keywords: epidemiologists; polio surveillance; state health departments; vaccine developers; vaccine manufacturers

Subjects: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; polio

00:37:59 - Global eradication efforts

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Partial Transcript: I guess now we should talk about [how] CDC became involved in global eradication efforts.

Segment Synopsis: Dr. Dowdle talks about the complicated process of forming the global polio eradication program and its acceptance by partner organizations.

Keywords: A. Sabin; Alma-Ata Conference; American region; Annecy; C. Macedo; D.A. Henderson; Geneva; H. Koprowski; H. Mahler; J. Salk; M. Pallansch; O. Kew; R. Henderson; R. Keegan; S. Cochi; Sabin technique; Talloire Conference; UNICEF [United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund]; W. Foege; W. Orenstein; epidemiology; mass immunization; molecular biology; polio-free; silent infections; virology division; virology surveillance

Subjects: Brazil; China; Congress; Cuba; France; Gates Foundation; Mexico; Pan American Health Organization [PAHO]; Rotary International; Smallpox eradication program; Soviet Union; World Bank; World Health Assembly; World Health Organization [WHO]; polio; smallpox

00:56:48 - Political climate

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Partial Transcript: I was going to ask about politics, and the effect it had on a lot of the decisions and a lot of the things that happened around polio and polio eradication.

Segment Synopsis: Dr. Dowdle explains how funds were appropriated for polio eradication, as well as the usage of the Sabin vaccine in conjunction with the Salk vaccine.

Keywords: H. Gelfand; J. Fox; Salk vaccine; live attenuated vaccine; political process; wild poliovirus

Subjects: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U.S.); Tulane University; paralytic polio

01:00:57 - Immunization challenges

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Partial Transcript: In the process of people giving the vaccines in various places, especially war-torn areas, were there people who lost their lives when they were doing the immunization programs?

Segment Synopsis: Dr. Dowdle talks about the security challenges immunizations teams have had to face as well as overcoming religious misconceptions.

Keywords: Muslim; imams; military escort; northern Nigeria; pig serum

Subjects: Afghanistan; Africa; CDC; Gates Foundation; Indonesia; Nigeria; Pakistan; World Health Organization [WHO]; polio program

01:06:24 - Specimen archiving/Notable individuals

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Partial Transcript: I guess we should wrap up, because I know you've got some time constraints here, but I wanted to give you a chance to bring up anything you would like to include related to polio and CDC, or specific people you’d like to mention.

Segment Synopsis: Dr. Dowdle explains the need to contain poliovirus in laboratories around the world to prevent inadvertent transmission and talks about notable individuals who played important roles in polio.

Keywords: A. Sabin; D. Hortsmann; D.A. Henderson; J. Melnick; J. Salk; W. Foege; inadvertent transmission

Subjects: CDC; MMWR; WHO; Yale University; noroviruses; poliovirus; rotaviruses; smallpox program

01:15:33 - Quarantining astronauts

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Partial Transcript: You were asked to do a special job related to the moon landing.

Segment Synopsis: Dr. Dowdle concludes with a story about studying moon specimens for infectious agents and quarantining the astronauts that landed on the moon.

Keywords: Washington, D.C.; astronauts; infectious agent; moon; quarantine

Subjects: National Aeronautics and Space Administration [NASA]