As life drastically changes for students, faculty, and staff at the University of Illinois and across the country, it may help to remember that this is not the first time that the University has faced a disruptive health crisis. Multiple outbreaks have peppered the University’s past, including the flu, smallpox, and scarlet fever. In 1914, a scarlet fever epidemic disrupted student life and spurred the University into action.
The Daily Illini reported the first student with scarlet fever in 1914 on February 10. By February 12, four more students were confined to the Burnham Hospital in Champaign. The spread of scarlet fever prompted Thomas A. Clark, the Dean of Men, to put out a statement, “In the present uncertain situation with regard to scarlet fever no one can afford to take unnecessary risk.” Clark urged sick students to see a physician, to isolate themselves until their diagnosis was confirmed, and not to attend class if they were sick.  Continue reading ““In the Present Uncertain Situation”: Scarlet Fever at the University of Illinois, 1914”