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Balto, the hero who transported Diphtheria antitoxin

Balto, the hero who transported Diphtheria antitoxin

On my first trip to New York City some years ago, while walking through Central Park towards the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a bronze statue of a dog named Balto caught my eye. The story is very compelling. In February 1925, Balto, a Siberian husky, led his dog sled team over the final 53 miles to Nome, Alaska transporting a precious cargo of diphtheria antitoxin to help stop a diphtheria outbreak among Inuit children.

Being a Public Health Nurse the short account of the dramatic response to a diphtheria outbreak on the statue plaque, reminded me at the time, and continues to remind me of the many public health responses to disease outbreaks in which I have been either directly involved or have had to be sufficiently knowledgeable to address the public's questions/concerns/anxiety: measles, polio, HIB (Haemophilus Influenza B), HIV, diverse Sexually Transmissable Infections, Hepatitis A, meningococcal disease, H1N1, HPV, Zika virus, .... 

Fortunately, there are vaccines now to prevent many of these diseases and there is improved treatment/surveillance for others. No doubt emerging diseases will continue to keep the discipline of public health "on our toes." 

Please read Balto's story @ (Vaccines and Dog-Sleds) OR OR 

I'm confident you will find it as compelling as I did. 




Last modified: 
Oct 26, 2017