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DATE: 1964

LENGTH: 12 min

CATEGORY: Research and Documentation, Color, Silent

CREATOR: Telford H. Work


The 1964 outbreaks of St. Louis Encephalitis in Houston, Texas and McLeansboro in Southern Illinois resulted in 243 confirmed cases and 27 deaths in Houston and 22 cases and two deaths in Illinois. A team of CDC scientists, led by Telford Work, were sent to Illinois and Texas to collect mosquitos and wild birds to investigate the role of birds as hosts of the virus. This film documents the research conducted and is an example of Work’s field research films. Slightly underexposed throughout, it is not one of his most technically assured films, nor is it readily evident how complete the film is. Nevertheless, it is indicative of his style of filmmaking and his aims in using film as a research and teaching aid…Read The Essay

Supplementary Materials

Stills from St. Louis Encephalitis Epidemic

Other Films Featured in the Essay “The Films of Virologist Telford Work”

In the Collections of the National Library of Medicine

NLM Historical Audiovisuals Collection

For a list of all cataloged Telford Work films in the collection visit the NLM LocatorPlus Catalog. Catalog records include holdings information and links to digitized films in NLM Digital Collections when available. Titles not available in NLM Digital Collections can be requested for viewing on-demand. Contact the Historical Audiovisuals curator via the NLM Support Center.

NLM Archives and Modern Manuscripts Collections

History of Medicine Finding Aids is the central access point, provided by the Archives and Modern Manuscripts, Prints and Photographs, and Historical Audiovisuals collections, for information and descriptions of archival collections at the National Library of Medicine. Explore the complete Finding Aid to the Telford H. Work Papers.

The following images are selections from the Telford H. Work Papers, Series 14: Photographs, 1940s–1970s.


Related Resources from the National Library of Medicine

Medicine on Screen

Also on Medicine on Screen is an essay “An Epidemiological Expedition Into the Interior of Africa” by Paul Theerman, PhD, that discusses another film by Work, Reconnaissance for Yellow Fever in the Nuba Mountains, Southern Sudan, 1954 in the NLM Collections. NLM also holds a silent version, Yellow Fever in the Sudan, that provided the footage for Reconnaissance for Yellow Fever.

Circulating Now

Learn more about collections related to virology on Circulating Now, specifically, see NLM Collections Tour: Epidemics and NLM Collections Tour: Vaccines.


For trusted, current health information explore the MedlinePlus health topic on viral infections.  Learn about current research and education in virology in the MedlinePlus Magazine article “The Montana Wild Virus Hunt.”

External Resources

Articles and Websites

“Telford H. Work: A Tribute,” by Charles H. Calisher, Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association, 1996, accessed via The Biodiversity Library, cited in PubMed

Debunking COVID-19 Myths” from the Mayo Clinic

Virology at NIH

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) conducts and supports basic and applied research to better understand, treat, and ultimately prevent infectious, immunologic, and allergic diseases. Learn more about the NIAID Laboratory of Virology.

More Medicine on Screen

Posted by:Circulating Now

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