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University of Iowa News Release

March 5, 2004

Top CDC Flu Expert To Discuss Influenza, Pandemic Threat March 11

Although the flu season in the United States appears to be waning, the threat of a global influenza pandemic may be brewing, public health experts recently warned at the International Conference on Emerging Infectious Diseases in Atlanta. Keiji Fukuda, M.D., chief of influenza epidemiology at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said at the conference that the avian influenza outbreak currently spreading across Asia "represents the most serious pandemic threat since 1968."

Fukuda will speak on the University of Iowa campus Thursday, March 11. He will examine the current outbreak of influenza A (H5N1) among poultry (commonly called bird flu or avian influenza) in Asia, and review seasonal influenza activity in the United States and questions about the adequacy and effectiveness of this year's vaccine. He also will discuss the possibility of the next influenza pandemic.

The presentation, to be held from noon to 1 p.m. in Room 22 of the Nursing Building on the UI campus, is free and open to the public. It also will be broadcast live over the Iowa Communications Network (ICN) and via streaming video on the Web.

Fukuda is the epidemiology section chief, influenza branch, of the division of viral and rickettsial diseases with the National Center for Infectious Diseases of CDC. He is a captain in the U.S. Public Health Service, Commissioned Corps, and is a frequent consultant to the World Health Organization (WHO). In 1997, he was the lead CDC investigator of the H5N1 outbreaks in Hong Kong. In 2003, Fukuda traveled to China to assist the WHO with control of the SARS epidemic in Shanghai and Beijing, and to investigate the first human cases of influenza A (H5N1) since 1997. This year he was in Vietnam investigating H5N1 during part of January and February.

The program is part of the spring 2004 Grand Rounds series sponsored by the Iowa Center for Public Health Preparedness (ICPHP). Advanced registration is requested and may be completed online at http://www.public-health.uiowa.edu/icphp/. Links to the live Web broadcast, as well as archives of past presentations, are available on the center's site.

The presentation is sponsored by the Iowa Center for Public Health Preparedness, based in the UI College of Public Health, and the Iowa Association of Local Public Health Agencies. The ICPHP is funded by a grant from the 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 Angela Harding, program assistant in the Center for Public Health Preparedness, at 319-335-8451 or angela-harding@uiowa.edu.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa College of Public Health Office of Communications, 4257 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242.

MEDIA CONTACT: Debra Venzke, 319-335-9647, debra-venzke@uiowa.edu