CONTACT: DEBRA VENZKE
UI COLLEGE OF PUBLIC HEALTH
Release: Sept. 5, 2002
Ebola outbreak investigator to deliver UI public health preparedness lecture
Ebola hemorrhagic fever is one of the most virulent -- and feared -- known
viral diseases, causing death in 50 to 90 percent of all clinically ill cases.
When a suspected outbreak occurs, affected countries often call in health
experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) to help control and track
the highly contagious disease.
On Sept. 10, Ray R. Arthur, Ph.D., a virologist and epidemiologist for the
WHO Department of Communicable Diseases Surveillance and Response, will present
"Responding to Ebola Outbreaks: The International Collaboration of the
World Health Organization's Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network."
The free lecture will be held from noon to 1 p.m. in the Raymond R. Rembolt
Conference Room, Center for Disabilities and Development (formerly University
Hospital School) on the University of Iowa campus.
"We are very fortunate that Dr. Arthur has agreed to visit with us
in Iowa City," said Gregory Gray, Ph.D., UI professor of epidemiology.
"He is an outstanding communicator and, due to his very unique experiences,
he is very much in demand as a speaker. If you saw the movie "Outbreak,"
one might say that Dustin Hoffman played a similar outbreak investigator role."
The presentation is part of the Grand Rounds series sponsored by the Iowa
Center for Public Health Preparedness (ICPHP), based in the UI College of
Public Health. Advanced registration for the lecture is requested and may
be completed online at http://www.public-health.uiowa.edu/icphp.
Arthur regularly leads WHO field outbreak investigations, including numerous
Ebola and Rift Valley Fever outbreaks in Africa. In his presentation, Arthur
will discuss recent Ebola epidemics in Central Africa, their clinical presentation
and epidemiology and WHO control measures.
Although infrequent, Ebola outbreaks are severe and are characterized by
the sudden onset of fever, weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat,
followed by vomiting, diarrhea, rash, limited kidney and liver functions,
and both internal and external bleeding. The virus spreads directly through
close contact with infected people or their body fluids, or indirectly through
contact with objects contaminated with infected body fluids, such as syringes
and needles. No specific treatment or vaccine exists for Ebola. Because they
can be spread through close contact, viral hemorrhagic fever viruses are high
on the list of possible agents of bioterrorism.
The public health Grand Rounds series is sponsored by the ICPHP and the Iowa
Association of Local Public Health Agencies. The ICPHP is funded by a grant
from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention through a cooperative
agreement with the Association of Schools of Public Health. For more information
about the Grand Rounds series, contact Shari Heick at (319) 335-6994.