BU professor to discuss yellow fever

For immediate release: Oct. 15, 2009

BLOOMSBURG — The connections 19th century Americans made between the environment and yellow fever, and how those connections, although incorrect, contributed to progress in public health will be the focus of the next program in the Institute for Culture and Society Special Focus Lecture Series at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania.

BU Professor Jeanette Keith will speak on "Mosquitoes, Environments and the Social Construction of Yellow Fever" Tuesday, Oct. 27, at 7 p.m. in the BU's Andruss Library, Schweiker Room. The lecture is free and open to the public.

In 1878, a major yellow fever epidemic swept through the Mississippi Valley, killing more than 18,000 people. It is now known that yellow fever is spread by a variety of mosquito with very specific environmental needs; in 1878, that discovery had not yet been made. Historically, when the origins of a disease are unknown, humans construct socially useful stories to explain who gets sick and who dies.

Bloomsburg University is one of 14 universities in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. The university serves approximately 8,000 students, offering comprehensive programs of study in the colleges of Education, Business, Liberal Arts and Science and Technology.