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2008 Public Lecture Series
April 23 to May 21, 2008 - 7 to 8:30 p.m.


Zoonoses: Animal Diseases Affecting Humans

What goes around the animal kingdom comes around, at least as far as infectious disease and people are concerned.

More than half of all human pathogens are diseases of animal origin, as are three-fourths of all recently emerged infections. SARS, Lyme disease and monkeypox are among these so-called zoonotic diseases.

Some are spread directly, such as rabies from the bite of an infected animal. Others employ a vector; mosquitoes play this role in West Nile virus and malaria.

New threats can emerge due to the interactions of animals with their environment, each other and people. For example, pigs can serve as mixing vessels for swine, bird and human influenza viruses, with the potential for emergence of a dangerous new viral strain.

Scientists from the Wadsworth Center will delve into these zoonotic diseases. They will explain basic concepts -- animal reservoirs, vectors, transmission cycles -- and explore research at the scientific frontiers.

Series Host: Charles V. Trimarchi, M.S.

Wednesday, April 23
Charles V. Trimarchi, M.S.
Viruses, Animals & People: Travelers on the Zoonotic Disease Highway

Among the oldest but also most recently recognized illnesses are those infections maintained in animal populations but transmitted to people. Plague (from fleas) is an ancient example, and Lyme disease (via ticks) a more recent one. Get a broad overview of zoonotic diseases - their diversity and importance to public health - and learn in detail how rabies, a classic example, has reemerged as a major threat. More ...

Wednesday, April 30
David Wentworth, Ph.D.
Influenza A: Consistently Ducking Our Immunity

Despite vigilance and vaccines, influenza causes seasonal illness thanks to minor mutations in the influenza A virus that allow new viral strains to evade the immune system. Learn why influenza A remains a major pathogen for people, what sources could contribute to new, more deadly pandemic strains, and how scientists are trying to pre-empt future pandemics. More ...

Wednesday, May 7
Paul Masters, Ph.D.
SARS: The Threat That Succumbed to Science - for Now?

Containment of the SARS epidemic was a public health victory due, in large part, to the unprecedented speed with which scientists identified a species-jumping coronavirus. In about a month, the cause of the severe acute respiratory syndrome was identified, isolated and genetically parsed. Less certain is the animal reservoir from which the virus emerged - and when and in what form it could emerge again. More ...

Wednesday, May 14
Jan Conn, Ph.D.
Here a Species, There a Species: Mosquitoes and Malaria

The human cost of malaria is immense, with 2 million people worldwide dying each year, and 500 million becoming severely ill. The source of their misery is twofold: disease-carrying mosquitoes, or vectors, and a disease-causing parasite. Hear about the life cycle and habitats of the disease carriers, the development of the parasite in humans and mosquitoes, and malaria vectors in the U.S. More ...

Wednesday, May 21
Laura Kramer, Ph.D., and Kristen Bernard, D.V.M., Ph.D.
Out of the Blue: Mosquitoes and Emerging Viruses

People are incidental to some viruses, despite the public health crisis they create. Such is the case with West Nile virus, which cycles between birds and mosquitoes, and infects humans as secondary hosts. Learn how these players interact among themselves and with their environment, and how emerging mosquito-borne viruses -- from West Nile to yellow fever, and Chikungunya to eastern equine - evolve and cause disease. More ...

First come, first served.

Lectures are held on Wednesday evenings from 7 to 8:30 p.m
David Axelrod Institute
120 New Scotland Avenue
Albany, NY

Doors open at 6:30
Limited seating
Photo ID required
No backpacks

Thank you for your cooperation

Of Continuing Interest