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Infectious diseases

vaccine vial
Winter 2020

The lost history of polio at Washington State

The message was so important that it was repeated twice above the fold.

The February 8, 1928, issue of The Evergreen exclaimed on both sides of the masthead, “All college entertainment features, athletic contests and social events have been cancelled until further notice is given as a precaution against the spread of infantile paralysis.”

Infantile paralysis is an old synonym for poliomyelitis, or polio, a viral disease that causes muscle pain, weakness, stiffness, and paralysis. At one time, it was among the most feared diseases in the United States.

In early 1928, a student at Washington State College died from the disease, and the college … » More …

H1N1 medicine
Fall 2014

Nasty epidemic, neat science

Dennis Garcia had good reason to be nervous.

Flu season was just a few months away, and in the summer of 2009, outbreaks of the H1N1 virus known as “swine flu” were popping up around the world. It was a novel virus, so rare that humans had yet to start developing immunity to it. A similar scenario was in place for the Spanish flu of 1918, an H1N1 outbreak more deadly than the Black Death bubonic plague.

By late August, as the first wave of students returned to Washington State University’s Pullman campus, the World Health Organization had seen the virus in scores of countries, … » More …

Wall Street
Spring 2013

Sick stocks

It’s cold and flu season. And no one is immune, not even Wall Street.

That’s the notion Brian McTier, a WSU Vancouver-based business school faculty member, and his colleagues explored when examining the impact of influenza on the U.S. stock market. McTier has been examining external events that might affect the stock market that weren’t normally modeled. Those effects include class action suits in securities, electronic funds transfer errors driven by sentiment, and the flu.

For the study, which is being published in the Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, the authors started with the hypothesis that high rates of influenza could affect trading as … » More …