Going Viral: Impact and Implications of the 1918 Influenza Pandemic

1918 Flu Symposium logo

Wednesday, April 4 – Friday, April 6, 2018 at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The symposium begins April 4, 2018.

The symposium begins April 4, 2018.

An interdisciplinary symposium to mark the 100th anniversary of one of the deadliest pandemics in human history, hosted by UNC’s Gillings School of Global Public Health, UNC’s Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and RTI International.

Online registration will open in January 2018. For more information or to receive email updates, contact 1918flu@unc.edu.

Symposium events will offer perspectives from the vantage points of medicine, health, social sciences and the humanities. Speakers include leading experts in epidemiology, virology, medicine, communications, literature, history, ethics, policy and other fields.


Photo of Gina Kolata

Gina Kolata

Keynote Speaker: Gina Kolata

On Thursday, April 5, at 6 p.m., as keynote speaker for the symposium, Gina Kolata will deliver the Fred T. Foard Jr. Memorial lecture.

Kolata is a best-selling author and journalist for the The New York Times who has won two Pulitzer Prizes and specializes in demystifying the science of personal health. She is the author of six books, including the best seller “Flu: The Story of the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918 and the Search for the Virus that Caused It.” Her acclaimed writing has influenced public policy and upended conventional wisdom.


Cover of Flu: The Story of the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918 and the Search for the Virus that Caused It

Cover of “Flu: The Story of the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918 and the Search for the Virus that Caused It”

Flu: The Story of the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918 and the Search for the Virus that Caused It

In 1918 the Great Flu Epidemic killed an estimated 50 million people virtually overnight. If such a plague returned today, taking a comparable percentage of the world’s population, 150 million people would die.

In this best-selling non-fiction account, acclaimed science journalist Gina Kolata unravels the mystery of this lethal virus with the high drama of a great adventure story.

From Alaska to Norway, from the streets of Hong Kong to the corridors of the White House, Kolata tracks the race to recover the live pathogen and probes the fear that has impelled government policy.

“Flu” compellingly addresses the prospects for a great epidemic’s recurrence and considers what can be done to prevent it.