‘Outbreak’ puts the life cycle of an epidemic on display | Science News

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‘Outbreak’ puts the life cycle of an epidemic on display

A new Smithsonian exhibit highlights how infectious diseases shape our world

7:00am, June 4, 2018

SOCIAL EPIDEMIC  In a new Smithsonian exhibit, activist signs and buttons from the AIDS epidemic highlight some of the social consequences of infectious disease outbreaks.

In 1918, a pandemic of Spanish flu killed as much as 5 percent of the world’s population. A hundred years later, scientists know much more about how to prevent and treat such diseases. But in some ways, the threat of a global outbreak is greater than ever. All it takes is one plane ride for a few localized cases of a disease to become an epidemic.

A new exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., traces the way infectious diseases still shape our world. The exhibit, called “Outbreak: Epidemics in a Connected World,” is centered around the concept of One Health — the idea that the health of humans, other animals and the environment are all intertwined, so protecting one requires protecting all (SN: 3/31/18, p. 20).

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