Wednesday, January 4, 2012

(empo-tymshft) Another perspective on Usenet

When I was participating in Usenet in the early 1980s, I had no idea about the future global ramifications of the service. Google, who took over the Deja News archives in 2001, has helpfully provided a Usenet timeline covering highlights in those archives.

For example, while I was using Usenet to review record albums, Jack Buchanan at the University of North Carolina was writing about a strange new illness:

Path: utzoo!decvax!duke!unc!mcnc!jwb
X-Path: utzoo!decvax!duke!unc!mcnc!jwb
From: mcnc!jwb
Date: Wed Dec 22 03:33:48 1982
Subject: Re: AIDS
Posted: Tue Dec 21 13:57:09 1982
Received: Wed Dec 22 03:33:48 1982

I am in no way an expert on AIDS. I did recieve a copy of recommendations
from the Center for Disease Control for health personnel working with these
patients. They summarize the current level of knowledge in the first paragraph.
"the etiology of the underlying immune deficiencies seen in AIDS cases is
unknown. One hypothesis consistent with current observations is that a trans-
missible agent may be involved. If so, transiDmission of the agent would appear
most commonly to require intimate direct contact involving mucosal surfaces, such
as sexual contact among homosexual males, or through parenteral spread, such as
occurs among intravenous drug abusers and possible hemophilia patients using
Factor VIII products. Airborne spread and interpersonal spread through casual
contact do not seem likely. These patterns resemble the distribution of disease
and modes of spread of hepatitis B virus, and hepatitis B virus infectons
occur very frequently among aidDDDAIDS cases.

"There is presently no evidence of AIDS transmission to hospital personnel
from contact with affected patients or clinical specimens. Because of concern
about a possible transmissible agent, however, interim suggestions are
appropriate to guide patient-care and laboratory personnel, including those
whose work invloves experimental animals..... "

Essentially the suggestions are those which are followed when caring for
patients ore boDDDDDr body fludDids with haDepatitis. (Handwashing, gloves, gowne,DDs D, masks,

Quote from "Morbidity and Mortality WeelDkly Report, 31:43, Nov 5, 1982."
This is a respected newsletter type of thing sent by the Center for Disease
Control to physicians and other healteDh personnel. The CDC, incidently, is
a government agency probably most noted currently for tracking down Legionaires

Jack Buchanan (MD))D
University of North Carolina
Chapel Hill, NC

See other items from the Usenet timeline here.
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