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Fralin Biomedical Research Institute Health Sciences and Technology Library: Rashes to Research Exhibition

National Library of Medicine (NLM) Traveling Exhibit


We are hosting a traveling exhibition from the National Library of Medicine! Rashes to Research: Scientists and Parents Confront the 1964 Rubella Epidemic will be on display at the VTCSOM Library and FBRI Library from April 29, 2024 to June 8, 2024.

As the rubella epidemic raged in 1964, 20,000 children were born with serious heart, hearing, and vision problems related to rubella exposure during pregnancy. While the nation’s scientists rushed to create a vaccine and develop better screening tests, families faced difficult decisions about current and future pregnancies. Rashes to Research: Scientists and Parents Confront the 1964 Rubella Epidemic highlights the work of researchers and parents to respond to rubella in the years before an effective vaccine nearly eliminated the disease from the United States.


Medicine & Society in Times of a Pandemic: Panel Discussion

Join us for a thought-provoking discussion as our panelists examine the social and cultural history of epidemics in the last century. Spanning from the Spanish flu to the more recent challenges of rubella, polio, and Covid-19. Discover the lessons learned from each epidemic, and the evolution of public health responses, and explore how the experiences from the past can inform future health responses. 

Date, Time, & Location

Wednesday, May 1, 2024
12:00 - 1:00 PM
4 Riverside Circle, Rm G101 A&B
In person and via Zoom

Please register here:

  1. Thomas Ewing, Ph.D.
    Professor, Department of History and Office of the Dean 
    Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Research
  2. Carla V. Finkielstein, Ph.D.
    Scientific Director, Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory
    Professor,  Department of Biological Sciences
  3. Laura L. Hungerford, DVM, MPH, PhD, CPH
    Professor and Head, Department of Population Health Sciences and VT Public Health Program

Highlights from the Exhibit

Symptoms of rubella, also called roëthln, German measles, or three-day measles, include a cold-like illness with a low fever followed by a rash. However, many people who get rubella will have no symptoms.

Detail of “Differential Diagnosis of Rash Illnesses,” Merck Sharp & Dohme, 1983
Courtesy National Library of Medicine

Two researchers at the National Institutes of Health, Doctors Harry M. Meyer, Jr. and Paul Parkman, developed a vaccine and a better blood test to screen people for rubella.

Doctors Harry M. Meyer, Jr. (1928-2001), left, and Paul Parkman (b. 1932), right, developed the rubella vaccine, Bethesda, Maryland, 1967
Courtesy National Library of Medicine

The American Heart Association issued this pamphlet for the parents of children born with heart defects. It helped parents of children with CRS (congenital rubella syndrome) and other conditions navigate a complex medical system and understand recommended medical procedures.

If Your Child Has a Congenital Heart Defect, American Heart Association, New York, 1967
Courtesy National Library of Medicine

Promotional materials for the rubella education and screening campaign focused on the risk to “tomorrow’s” children.

Advertisement from the Oregon State Department of Public Health and March of Dimes, undated
Courtesy National Library of Medicine