During the 1898-1904 pox epidemic, public health officials and policemen forced thousands of Americans to be vaccinated against their will. Historian Michael Willrich examines that epidemic's far-reaching implications for individual civil liberties in Pox: An American History.
Since 1994, Dr. Peter Piot been the director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS and the executive director of U.N. AIDS, the U.N. agency coordinating the fight against the disease. He also co-discovered the Ebola virus. He's considered the U.N.'s top AIDS official. He says Asian countries need to take AIDS prevention and treatment more seriously, as they are only at the beginning of the epidemic. Countries most affected are Thailand, Myanmar and Cambodia. Piot says the HIV/AIDS epidemic has hit India very hard.
Francis has worked on the AIDS epidemic since 1981, and is currently working on developing a vaccine. He was portrayed by Matthew Modine in "The Band Played On" and was a consultant on "Outbreak." He's worked for the Centers for Disease Control, and has researched Ebola outbreaks in Africa.
Writer Laurie Garrett has been a science reporter for NPR, New York "Newsday," "Omni," and other publications. She wrote the new book, "The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance." It explores the emergence of new infectious viruses like AIDS and Ebola, and the new strains of known diseases that are resistant to many treatments. Garrett examines the conditions that favor the spread of these microbes and looks at possible solutions to stop the diseases.
In 1989, there was a small outbreak of an extremely contagious virus, the Ebola virus, in a lab in Reston, Virginia. The Army was brought in to stop the spread of the disease. The disease causes its victims to bleed to death. Richard Preston has written a new book about the incident, called "The Hot Zone."
Last week, a cholera epidemic broke out in Rwanda, and the country now has limited medical facilities and few physicians. Dr. John Sundin worked during May and June at the Red Cross hospital in Kigali, Rwanda. He'll talk about the cholera epidemic, and about his experiences working as the only surgeon in Kigali.