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D. A. Henderson, epidemiologist, dies at 87

Discussion in 'General ME/CFS News' started by halcyon, Aug 20, 2016.

  1. halcyon

    halcyon Senior Member

    Donald A. Henderson, one of the epidemiologists that studied the 1950s US epidemic neuromyasthenia outbreaks (aka ME), has died at age 87.

    One of the last papers he published on the subject, in 1994, is a short but interesting read. Full text is available on sci-hub. An amusing excerpt:
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2016
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  2. taniaaust1

    taniaaust1 Senior Member

    Sth Australia
    One of our unsung heros.

    the following part really got to me

    Im wondering if anyone in our ME communities could go and rescue the very valuable info which still probably would be at his place before it is passed on to gov people who could vanish the old studies published etc or his wife throws it all out?

    He's probably got the collection of the old Australian/ New Zealand ME or CFS research journals from way back (sorry I forget now what it would be called but as far as I know no copies have been archieved online of this, there would be very little copies left and he may hold one of the last as not many of our specialists from back before the Lake Tahoe outbreak in the 1980s are left.

    I strongly suspect him he would subcribed to this when it was being published .. he would of known about this ME journal on this rare illness he studied himself even if it wasnt in his country

    I saw a couple of old copies of this over (not online) 9? years ago now,, these journals I think predate all the bullcrap that CDC caused in the 1980s.. all the original ME studies published in an Australian and New Zealand journal on our illness
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2016
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  3. anciendaze

    anciendaze Senior Member

    As it happens, I passed through Punta Gorda in November of 1956, site of the outbreak investigated by Henderson and Poskanzer. The "worst flu of my life" took place the following year, when the "Asian flu" hit. Whatever the patients studied in the Punta Gorda outbreak had it was not the Asian flu, because that was highly contagious. We found out the following year that most of the U.S. population had no immunity to it. Doctors and hospitals were overwhelmed with cases. I am not aware of any long-term followup on the health of those affected by the Asian flu.

    The people studied in the Punta Gorda outbreak were permanent residents in an area where most people had agricultural or service jobs. What you will find nowhere in that paper is a mention of the tourist destinations they served: Port Charlotte, Fort Myers, Sanibel island, Captiva. If any tourists were affected, the investigators didn't see them. Presumably, they went home, where doctors did not notice an epidemic. Florida health officials were adverse to advertising an outbreak in tourist destinations.

    Another outbreak took place among student nurses at a private psychiatric hospital near Washington, Chestnut Lodge. This was investigated by Alexis Shelokov. At the time of publication he was chief of the laboratory section on infectious diseases at NIAID. At this remove we can't distinguish between a possible viral disease and an early outbreak of what came to be known as Lyme disease. Today there is no question both the ticks and the spirochetes are found in that part of Maryland.

    Henderson and Shelokov went on to publish a paper on such outbreaks.

    None of them changed the opinions expressed in those publications. They believed they had seen outbreaks of a neurological disease. None of these people could be dismissed as lightweights, instead they were simply ignored.

    It is time this came to an end.

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