WASHINGTON, July 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- An update on the
government's avian and pandemic influenza preparedness efforts was given
today by leading infectious disease experts from around the country at a
news conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The news
conference, sponsored by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases
(NFID), addressed key issues and developments in the control and prevention
of emerging infectious diseases, as well as highlighted global health risks
of foodborne and water-related illnesses and the threat of multi-drug
"Emerging, and in some cases re-emerging, infectious diseases, notably
avian and pandemic influenza, pose a very serious threat to the nation's
public health," said Susan J. Rehm, MD, NFID Medical Director and Vice
Chair, Department of Infectious Disease, at the Cleveland Clinic. "As
health care professionals, we need to continue to identify these threats
and take the necessary steps to respond quickly and effectively."
Addressing the prospect of an influenza pandemic, Carole A. Heilman,
PhD, director, division of microbiology and infectious diseases, at the
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), National
Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Department of Health and Human Services
discussed how NIAID is leading efforts to help bolster the nation's
pandemic influenza preparedness, including activities exploring cell-based
vaccines; expanding the domestic capacity for influenza vaccines;
developing point-of-care diagnostics; supporting influenza antivirals; and
advancing surge capacity for producing H5N1 vaccines. "NIAID is exploring
all avenues to ensure that the infrastructure is in place to act on an
influenza pandemic in this country," stated Dr. Heilman. NIAID is the lead
NIH institute for pandemic influenza preparedness efforts.
Additional topics discussed at the 12th Richard J. Duma/NFID Annual
News Conference and Symposium on Infectious Diseases included:
-- New Therapeutic Regimens in the Fight Against Multi-drug Resistant
Tuberculosis: Michael D. Iseman, MD, professor of medicine, National
Jewish Medical Center and Research Center in Denver, Colorado,
discussed the threat of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis and new
therapeutic strategies to help address the growing need to control
tuberculosis and reduce barriers to accessing these regimens.
"Since the introduction of the fluorquinolones in the 1980's there have
been no significant advances in the treatment of tuberculosis," stated Dr.
Iseman. "With the emergence of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis, this is a
critical juncture in our efforts to control this disease."
-- Vaccine Financing Issues: Jerome O. Klein, MD, professor of pediatrics
at Boston University School of Medicine, discussed the rising costs of
vaccines in this country and concerns regarding continued access to
safe and effective vaccines.
-- Foodborne and Water-related Diseases: A National and Global Update:
James M. Hughes, MD, professor of medicine and public health, Rollins
School of Public Health at Emory University, the director of the Emory
Program in Global Infectious Diseases and the Emory Center for Global
Safe Water, provided an overview of the increasing prevalence and
public health risks of foodborne illnesses caused by a variety of
bacteria, viruses and parasites, and water-related diseases associated
with drinking water, water not intended for drinking, and recreational
About the News Conference and Symposium
The 12th Richard J. Duma/NFID Annual News Conference and Symposium on
Infectious Diseases was supported, in part, by unrestricted educational
grants to NFID from the Biotechnology Industry Organization,
GlaxoSmithKline, sanofi pasteur, and Wyeth Pharmaceuticals. This event is
named for former NFID president and executive director Richard J. Duma, MD,
PhD, currently director of infectious diseases at Halifax Medical Center in
Daytona Beach, FL.
About the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases
The National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) is a non-profit,
tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization founded in 1973 and dedicated to
educating the public and healthcare professionals about the causes,
treatment and prevention of infectious diseases. For more information,
please visit http://www.nfid.org.
SOURCE National Foundation for Infectious Diseases