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Specialists in infectious disease and global health convene at Philadelphia meeting

Nearly 2,500 physicians and scientists from institutions around the world such as the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health will meet at the 56th American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygienes Annual Meeting on Nov. 4-8, in Philadelphia to discuss the latest research on infectious diseases and bioterrorist and global health threats.

Highlights include:

  • Threats to the U.S. Blood Supply: Chagas and Dengue fever, two fatal diseases, are seen to be potential threats to the U.S. blood supply due to a lack of screening and proper diagnosis of these diseases. With a higher immigrant population and more business and recreational travelers visiting infected areas, diseases that once never reached U.S. borders are now an imminent reality. Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco and the American Red Cross will elaborate on this national concern.
  • NASA Technology Used to Prevent Ebola and Malaria: Researchers have been monitoring the earths climate in an effort to track deadly outbreaks of malaria and Ebola viruses using NASA satellite imagery. Climate changes can indicate where outbreaks are likely to happen, so effective monitoring can help prepare for these potential health threats. Researchers from NASAs Goddard Space Flight Center and Columbia University will present research on the monitoring systems and the concerns scientists have about infectious diseases, such as Ebola, being used as bioterrorism agents.
  • Economic Impact and Financial Burden of Infectious Diseases: Why prevention is more cost effective than treatment: Representatives from the American Red Cross and Brandeis University will present results from the first multi-country analysis of Dengue fever, which reveals a substantial epidemiological, social and economic burden associated with the disease. Researchers believe that dengue is grossly underreported in many countries. There is also a lack of a rapid and accurate diagnostic testing, potential misdiagnoses, and limited data -- further challenging efforts to measure the global burden of this threatening disease.
  • Travelers Unknowingly at Risk for Malaria: Once the leader in malaria drug development, the U.S. now lags behind in prevention, diagnosis and treatment: Physicians from Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and the Centers for Disease Control will discuss why U.S. and Canadian travelers remain unaware of their risk for contracting malaria. Physicians also often misdiagnose cases of malaria as influenza and are not aware of the latest advances in treating malaria.
  • New Fever Prominent in Egypt and Africa Poses Potential Danger to U.S. Livestock: The ability of viruses such as West Nile to travel and infect the U.S. has illustrated a greater need for concern around mosquito-transmitted diseases present in other countries. One such disease on researchers radar screens is Rift Valley Fever virus (RVF). Scientists from the University of Pennsylvania will present findings as to why health risks to the U.S. food supply from West Nile virus are far less severe than what could happen if RVF reached the U.S. and the major economic impact it would have on the agricultural industry.


Contact: Jen Bender
203-325-8772 x17
American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene

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