“A shot-in-the-dark email leads to a century-old family treasure — and hope of cracking a deadly flu’s secret” – STATnews

1918 Legacy Better Flu Shots“Health workers prepare to retrieve victims of the 1918 influenza epidemic in St. Louis. – LIBRARY OF CONGRESS VIA AP

by Helen Branswell

“Late one night Michael Worobey began poking around on the internet, looking for descendants of a World War I British military doctor named William Rolland.

“Rolland, a pathologist, had written a report in 1917, the year before the start of the Spanish flu. It described cases of British soldiers in France who had contracted an unusually fatal respiratory illness. Worobey, an evolutionary biology professor with a particular interest in the 1918 pandemic, wanted to know whether any of Rolland’s samples might still be lying about a century later.

“Within a few hours, he had found a possible contact and fired off an email. Across the Atlantic, 5,000 miles away, a retired family physician in England’s picturesque Lake District received it. He replied immediately.

“When Worobey read it, he was thunderstruck. “I almost fell out of my chair, for real,” he recalled. ‘I actually did cry real tears.’”

Continue reading this article at STATnews.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: