As public health officials prepare for a new strain of flu that originated in pigs, they're taking lessons from a public health crisis three decades old.
Swine flu struck Fort Dix, N.J., in January 1976, killing an Army recruit and seriously sickening 13 more. In the ensuing nine months, the federal government responded with a huge vaccination program to calm an edgy public.
Unfortunately, the vaccine harmed more people than the flu.
"The problem was, the outbreak was already over when the decision was made to vaccinate," said Dr. Don Burke, dean of the University of Pittsburgh's Graduate School of Public Health, who researched the outbreak. "So this is, in …