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Dr. Jeffery Taubenberger on: Mission of Armed Forces Institute of Pathology
 Dr. Taubenberger of the Armed Forces Inst. pf Patholgy Listen in Real Audio

The Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, or AFIP, has been around for about 130 years. It came into being during the Civil War, was actually created from an executive order of Abraham Lincoln to the Army Surgeon General to study diseases in the battlefield. And even during Civil War, infectious diseases were a major problem for the military and more people died of infectious diseases than they did of bullets. That's probably true of all wars. Pathology as a subspecialty of medicine was sort of coming into its own at that time in the late 1800's, and people were beginning to examine tissues under the microscope -- tumors and infectious agents and things. So the Institute sort of was created to collect and study disease specimens.

This institute has continued to collect interesting medical specimens, both surgical pathology and autopsy pathology specimens for this period of time. So currently it houses, I don't know how many millions of specimens, about three million specimens covering basically all ranges of human and actually veterinary pathology.

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