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Latest on malaria, dengue, radiation threats, bedbugs, cholera in Haiti at ASTMH Annual Meeting

The 60th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH) -- the largest of its kind in the world -- will bring together in one place global experts who are battling a wide range of bacteria, viruses, parasites and other pathogens that each year kill or sicken hundreds of millions of people.

Scientists, clinicians and other experts in tropical medicine and global health will present new insights and research on a wide range of critical issues in preventing and controlling infectious diseases, including combating the unexpected and rapid rise of cholera in Haiti; the global consequences of radiation emergencies; the hunt for new treatments for a less deadly, but still insidious and rising, form of malaria; a new vaccine for dengue fever -- a disease that may be regaining a foothold in the United States; the stubborn burden of infectious disease among poor Americans; and detection and control of resurgent bed bugs.

    WHAT: The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 60th Annual Meeting

    Paul Farmer, director of Partners In Health
    Jeffrey Sachs, director of Columbia University's Earth Institute & Special Advisor to the UN Secretary General
    Harold Varmus, Nobel Laureate & former director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) who now heads the National Cancer Institute
    Mirta Roses Periago, director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)

    WHEN: December 4-8, 2011

    WHERE: Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA

    RSVP: For more information and to register for press credentials, please contact:
    Preeti Singh at +1 301 280 5722 or


Tropical diseases mainly affect poor countries -- where the chance of dying is 30 times greater for infants, 40 times for adults and 1000 times for pregnant women. But in today's globalized world, they are a threat to us all. ASTMH members are pursuing new drugs, diagnostics and vaccines to prevent and eradicate disease and control pandemics that disrupt countless lives, destabilize communities and pose far-reaching geo-political hazards.

Selected Highlights of ASTMH Annual Meeting:

Surprising Explosion of Cholera on America's Doorstep: A report from the frontlines by experts from the United States' Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Cholera infections and deaths keep rising in Haiti after the disease suddenly reemerged in the earthquake aftermath; meanwhile, aid dwindles and health officials scramble for resources.

Chernobyl, Japan and Beyond: Radiation and Health: Fresh perspectives on short-term responses and long-term health effects of radiation emergencies as nuclear safety concerns surge in the wake of the reactor meltdown in Japan.

New and Unexpected Findings on Leading Child Killer: Researchers report on one of the largest studies ever of diarrhea in children in the developing world. Diarrheal diseases kill 1.5 million children every year, second only to pneumonia as a leading cause of death in children under five years of age.

Infectious Disease among Impoverished Americans: Ten years into the 21st century, scientists provide new research on how infectious diseases still weigh heavily on the poor worldwide, even in wealthy nations like the United States.

The "Other" Malaria: The deadliest malaria parasite is Plasmodium falciparum, but its close cousin Plasmodium vivax is alive and thriving in Asia and Latin America. Experts discuss new approaches to treating P. vivax malaria, which can linger in the liver for years and cause multiple relapses. (Related: scientists report new observations on whether resistance to the world's most effective malaria medicine is moving beyond Southeast Asia.)

"A Vaccine for "Breakbone" Fever?: Mosquito-borne dengue fever, often called "breakbone fever" for the incredible pain it causes in the joints, is on the rise and has recently reemerged in Florida. The latest on a potential vaccine breakthrough and the challenges to rolling out immunizations for a disease linked to 100 million infections and 25,000 deaths each year.

Smartphones and Satellites Join the Fight: New applications of NASA remote sensing technology, mobile devices and the Internet for tracking major outbreaks of infectious diseases.

Bed Bugs Still Biting: Common in the tropics but rare in the US for decades, bedbugs have returned to North America with a particularly high-profile invasion of New York City. Researchers present the latest on detection and control measures.


Contact: Preeti Singh
American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene

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