Public Release: 

Southeast Vector-Borne Diseases Conference highlights emerging disease threats

Emory Health Sciences

ATLANTA -- A conference at Duke University, presented by the Southeastern Center for Emerging Biologic Threats (SECEBT), will explore the threats of vector-borne diseases in the Southeastern United States, including West Nile encephalitis and tick-borne diseases. The conference will be held Tuesday and Wednesday, May 8 and 9, at the Searle Center at Duke University in Durham, N.C.

Vector-borne diseases, which are transmitted by insects such as mosquitoes and ticks, also include malaria and dengue, which occasionally are transmitted in the U.S., as well as Rift Valley fever and Chikungunya virus infection, which could be introduced into this country. Presentations will focus on the epidemiology, symptoms, diagnosis, organism adaptability and treatments, and will highlight state plans currently in place for surveillance and response.

SECEBT is a regional partnership of universities, public health agencies, affiliates and foundations dedicated to combating biologic threats with increasing potential for harm. The partnership was founded by Emory University in 2002. It currently includes 17 universities and medical centers, six state health departments, and seven other affiliated government and private institutions, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Walter Orenstein, MD, who will become executive director for SECEBT in June and is currently associate director of the Emory Vaccine Center and former director of the CDC's National Immunization Program, will introduce the conference. Other moderators will be James Hughes, MD, associate director, SECEBT, director, Emory Center for Global Safe Water and former director of the CDC's National Center for Infectious Diseases; and Christopher Woods, MD, MPH, Duke University Medical Center.

Nina Marano, DVM, MPH, branch chief, Special Pathogens Branch, CDC, will deliver a plenary lecture on "One Medicine" on May 8 at 8:30 a.m. Dr. Marano will discuss the important relationship between veterinary and human medicine.

Other conference participants will include scientists from the CDC, Duke University, University of Alabama at Birmingham, University of Hawaii, University of Georgia, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina State University, Berry College, Johns Hopkins University, Tulane National Primate Research Center, Boston University Medical Branch, North Carolina Department of Health, and Tennessee Department of Health.

"Vector-borne diseases include many of the most challenging disease threats to populations around the globe," said Jeffrey P. Koplan, MD, MPH, senior advisor, SECEBT, vice president for academic health affairs at Emory University, and former director of the CDC "It is critically important that scientists in the U.S. maintain surveillance and preparedness for these diseases, which do not respect boundaries of states or countries. As a regional public health partnership, SECEBT is an ideal mechanism for scientific collaboration and disease prevention on multiple levels."

The conference is free, and is geared to physicians, veterinarians, nurses, public health staff, graduate and medical students. Participants are eligible for 10.25 hours in Category 1 credit toward the AMA PRA.


For additional information, please contact Tonya Dixon at 404-712-2452 or, or register online at:

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