The exhibition ‘Epidemics and pandemics. The invisible enemy ‘, which premiered this Wednesday at the National Museum of Science and Technology of Catalonia (MNACTEC) in Terrassa , shows the great sanitary plagues that humanity has suffered from a historical, scientific and social perspective .
The exhibition, which can be visited until December 31 , explains the concepts of outbreak, epidemic and pandemic or the relationships of the different living organisms and analyzes the great epidemics that humanity has suffered and, specifically, those experienced in Catalonia.
Also noteworthy are historical objects for the treatment of epidemics such as a disinfection car-stove from the early 20th century, an iron lung from 1958, Egnström’s automatic respirator from 1960 and a recreation of the Barcelona Municipal Laboratory from the early 20th century.
What can be learned?
‘Epidemics and pandemics. The invisible enemy ‘begins with an explanation about the relationships (indifferent, beneficial or infectious) between human beings and organisms such as bacteria or viruses.
In a section of the exhibition, the concepts of outbreak (initial manifestation of a disease that affects a small group and extension such as food poisoning), epidemic (infectious disease that appears in a population and exceeds the time considered normal, are presented). rabies for example) and pandemic (epidemic that affects at least two continents and is caused by community transmission).
Interactively, visitors can learn the basics of the 18 major epidemics documented that have occurred throughout history and around the world: smallpox , tuberculosis , diphtheria , polio , Antonina Plague , Plague of Justinian , Black Death , cocoliztli , yellow fever , cholera , Spanish flu , typhus , HIV , SARS , influenza A , MERS , Ebola andcovid-19 .
The evolution of public health
The MNACTEC exhibition also dedicates a section to the evolution of public health and personal hygiene , which were and continue to be key in the transmission, detection and treatment of epidemics and pandemics.
In this section you will find the disinfection trolley-stove from the early 20th century that sterilized clothes and objects, the iron lung from 1958 that was used mainly in polio patients and the Egnström automatic respirator from 1960 for patients with severe breathing difficulties .
‘Epidemics and pandemics. The invisible enemy ‘also focuses on epidemics and pandemics in a current context , in which globalization promotes the relationship between microorganisms and humans and favors the mutation and transmission of viruses and bacteria.
“Pandemics and epidemics have always existed, although unfortunately we have had to experience them in the first person instead of learning from them through science, literature and cinema,” said the director of the MNACTEC, Jaume Perarnau .
“For this reason, in the exhibition we explain how they are treated, how they are investigated, what remedies are sought and what treatments have always been used and currently”, added Perarnau .