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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released today an online storybook containing narratives from survivors, families, and friends about one of the largest scourges ever on human kind — the 1918 influenza pandemic that killed millions of people around the world. The storybook provides valuable insight for public health officials preparing for the possibility of another pandemic sometime in our future.
This year marks the 90th anniversary of the 1918 influenza pandemic.
The Internet storybook contains about 50 stories from individuals from 24 states as well as photos and narrative videos from the storytellers.
"Complacency is enemy number one when it comes to preparing for another influenza pandemic," said CDC director Julie Gerberding, MD, MPH. "These stories, told so eloquently by survivors, family members, and friends from past pandemics, serve as a sobering reminder of the devastating impact that influenza can have and reading them is a must for anyone involved in public health preparedness."
The idea for such a storybook emerged during crisis and emergency risk communication (CERC) training CDC has been conducting with health professionals over the past few years. The online storybook contains narratives from survivors, families, and friends who lived through the 1918 and 1957 pandemics. The agency welcomes new submissions and plans to update the book each quarter. Narratives from the 1968 pandemic are also welcome.
"It's an excellent resource, not only for public health professionals, but for people of all ages," said Sharon Hoskins, a public affairs officer who coordinated the project for CDC. "It's probably the closest to experiencing the real thing that many of us can imagine."
To access the storybook, CLICK HERE.