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Media Advisory

CDC official to give Oct. 1 talk on West Nile Virus

29 September 2003

ATTENTION: Health reporters covering West Nile Virus

Contact: Sarah Yang
(510) 643-7741 scy@pa.urel.berkeley.edu

A public lecture at the University of California, Berkeley, on the West Nile Virus by Dr. Lyle Petersen of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Petersen will explain how the virus moves among birds, mosquitoes and humans, and discuss likely scenarios of how the virus will spread in the future.

As acting director of the Division of Vector-Borne Infectious Diseases, Petersen is the lead expert on West Nile Virus at the CDC. Petersen returned to the CDC in 2000 after spending four years helping to create a new national infectious disease epidemiology program at the Robert Koch Institute in Berlin.

His prior experience at the CDC was in the Division of HIV/AIDS from 1988 to 1995. He held several positions at the division, including chief of the HIV Seroepidemiology Branch from 1992 to 1995.

7-8:15 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 1

Room 105 (auditorium), North Gate Hall, UC Berkeley

The first case of West Nile Virus was diagnosed in 1999 in New York City. Since then, the virus has spread to 46 states and the District of Columbia, killing 93 people and infecting about 4,800 more, as well as numerous horses and birds. While no West Nile Virus infections in humans have been reported in California, the virus has been detected in mosquitoes in the state.

The lecture is being presented at UC Berkeley as part of a weeklong training seminar for public health reporters. It is sponsored by the Graduate School of Journalism's Western Knight Center for Specialized Journalism Training, the School of Public Health and the campus's Center for Infectious Disease Preparedness.