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Posted by on Mar 7, 2011 in Infectious diseases, Medical history

Iditarod Has Life-Saving History

Iditarod Has Life-Saving History


Saturday marked the beginning of the 2011 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, spanning more than 1150 miles from Anchorage to Nome. The trail was first raised in the American consciousness in 1925, as 20 mushers and 150 sled dogs relayed life-saving diphtheria antitoxin through blizzard conditions from Nenana, where the antitoxin had been shipped by train, to epidemic-stricken Nome.

A brief account of the historic event is provided by Stanley Scheindlin in the August 2008 issue of Molecular Interventions. A much more comprehensive record is available from Salisbury and Salisbury: The Cruelest Miles: The Heroic Story of Dogs and Men in a Race Against an Epidemic.

From Alaska’s Digital Archives: Image of sledder Gunnar Kaason with Balto, who traversed the last 78 miles to Nome during the 1925 “Great Race of Mercy.”

HT: Terry Glauser.

bmartin (1082 Posts)

A native East Tennessean, Barbara Martin is a formerly practicing, board-certified neurologist who received her BS (psychology, summa cum laude) and MD from Duke University before completing her postgraduate training (internship, residency, fellowship) at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. She has worked in academia, private practice, medical publishing, drug market research, and continuing medical education (CME). For the last 3 years, she has worked in a freelance capacity as a medical writer, analyst, and consultant. Follow Dr. Barbara Martin on and Twitter.