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La Rivista Italiana della Medicina di Laboratorio 2021 Dicembre;17(4):213-9

DOI: 10.23736/S1825-859X.21.00125-0


language: Italian

Maurizio Bufalini, Vannegar Bush and HG Wells and the tools to make decisions during a pandemic


SIPMeL Castelfranco Veneto, Treviso, Italia

The need to collect the wealth of knowledge accumulated over the centuries and to make this knowledge usable to solve problems in all areas and at different levels of competence has already been addressed by this journal. Before informatics revolutionized also this need, the best known examples date back to the middle of the last century: Memex, which, once created, would have allowed the storage and consultation of various types of documents and World Brain, a sort of universal library which, integrated by statistical knowledge disseminated to the entire population, would have helped to objectively assess the available data and to make the best decisions. Humanity has been hit by epidemics several times throughout history and the COVID-19 pandemic is only the latest case. The aim of the editorial is to examine, through numerous articles and volumes available online, the way in which Maurizio Bufalini, the most famous Italian clinician of the nineteenth century, studied, faced and described the cholera pandemic that struck Europe and the Italy in that century. The editorial describes how the famous doctor was not convinced of the contagiousness of cholera but objectively and modernly analyzed the need for smallpox vaccination of which he became a convinced supporter. He recommended and promoted it not only with articles in scientific journals and volumes but also with documents and informative articles in which he analyzed epidemiological data using simple descriptive statistical tools to clarify in a simple way the positive effect of vaccination on the health of the population and addressed authorities and citizens appeals to undergo vaccination without fear and doubts.

KEY WORDS: Pandemics; Cholera, Vaccination; Smallpox; Knowledge, Decision making

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