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Volume 11, Number 10—October 2005
Peer Reviewed Report Available Online Only

New and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases

Uriel Kitron*Comments to Author  and Brenda Wilson*
Author affiliations: *University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, Illinois, USA

Suggested citation for this article

8th Annual Conference on New and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases

Champaign, IllinoisApril 20–21, 2005

The eighth annual Conference on New and Re-emerging Diseases was hosted by the Center for Zoonoses Research and the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The conference featured 9 speakers and a poster session. This year the conference was co-sponsored by the Conservation Medicine Center of Chicago (CMCC) and the University of Illinois Environmental Council.

Lynn Enquist, Princeton University, opened the conference with a presentation on alphaherpes viruses. The alphaherpes viruses have evolved to enter the peripheral nervous systems of their natural hosts and establish a quiescent infection (latency) in peripheral ganglia that can be reactivated. The spread of infection is through chains of synaptically connected neurons. The viral genome inside capsids is moved for long distances in axons in a controlled fashion along microtubules. Entry requires movement from axon terminals to cell bodies and, after reactivation, egress requires movement back to axon terminals in the periphery (and only rarely to the central nervous system). Ongoing imaging experiments to visualize the dynamics of long distance axonal transport during entry and egress of individual pseudorabies virus virions tagged with green fluorescent protein or monomeric red fluorescent protein in cultured peripheral nervous system neurons were discussed.

David Williams, Illinois State University, discussed a survival mechanism of the blood parasite, Schistosoma mansoni, namely the production of an antioxidant "firewall" that neutralizes the oxidative assault of the host's immune attack. Parasite redox proteins are essential for survival and are substantially different from host redox proteins. Schistosomal redox proteins are proposed to be valid targets for the development of drugs to treat schistosomiasis.

Ana Calvo, Northern Illinois University, described a study targeted to find possible molecular strategies to control the detrimental effects of Aspergillus spp. on health, including opportunistic infections, allergic reactions, and mycotoxin contamination of food. Researchers have found a genetic link, velvet or veA, between mycotoxin biosynthesis and resistant structure production in Aspergillus flavus that appears to be unique to fungi.

Marcia Castro, University of South Carolina, characterized and compared the interrelationships between environmental change and malaria transmission in 2 different sociocultural and ecologic settings, urban expansion in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and the opening of new human settlement areas in the tropical forest with accompanying rapid urban development in the northwestern portion of the Brazilian Amazon.

Carmel Ruffolo, University of Wisconsin-Parkside, discussed the Nudix hydrolase of Pasteurella multocida and its role in pathogenesis. This study was the first to use an animal model to assess the virulence of a bacterial strain that lacked dinucleoside oligophosphate pyrophosphatases. The results suggest that PnhA, which catalyzes the hydrolysis of diadenosine pentaphosphates, may also play a role in facilitating P. multocida pathogenicity in the host.

The second part of the symposium, co-sponsored by the CMCC, included 2 presentations on avian influenza and 2 on rabies.

Alessandro Mannelli, University of Torino, described the epidemiology and control of avian influenza in Italy. Northern Italy, where the most of the country's poultry production is concentrated, was struck by highly pathogenic avian influenza in 1999–2000 that caused the destruction of 13 million birds. Subsequently, low pathogenic avian influenza has been repeatedly reported. Control measures that included vaccination and changes in the structure of poultry industry and surveillance on wild fowl population are being implemented.

Peter Clyne, Wildlife Conservation Society of New York City, presented a wildlife conservation perspective of avian influenza. The widespread fear of an avian influenza pandemic poses a serious threat to the conservation of wildlife since wild birds may be seen as an enemy, wild bird populations may need to be culled, and avian influenza may deplete vulnerable bird populations. However, this same fear also represents an opportunity to improve wildlife conservation through stronger regulation of the "wet markets" of Southeast Asia that increases the cost of wildlife trading.

Thomas Müller, Federal Research Institute for Animal Health of Wusterhausen, Germany, described the track record of the European oral vaccination effort against rabies. The experience gained after 25 years of oral rabies vaccination in Europe has shown that it is the most cost-effective way to control and eradicate wildlife rabies, but no single universal approach exists. Baiting strategies have to be adjusted to the local situation.

Stanley Gehrt, Ohio State University, discussed the importance of host population dynamics for understanding and managing wildlife disease. Based on population dynamics of raccoons as they relate to rabies, factors such as density, movement patterns, and habitat use were used to construct a spatially based dynamic model of raccoon rabies. The effectiveness of oral rabies vaccines for raccoons relies heavily on the distribution, abundance, and movement of raccoons. Design and efficacy of bait distribution has not been thoroughly evaluated.

Proceedings available in pdf format at

Dr Kitron is professor of pathobiology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and co-director of the Center for Zoonoses Research.

Dr Wilson is associate professor of microbiology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and co-director of the Center for Zoonoses Research.


Suggested citation for this article: Kitron U, Wilson B. New and re-emerging infectious diseases [conference summary]. Emerg Infect Dis [serial on the Internet]. 2005 Oct [date cited].

DOI: 10.3201/eid1110.050792

Table of Contents – Volume 11, Number 10—October 2005

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Please use the form below to submit correspondence to the authors or contact them at the following address:

Address for correspondence:Uriel Kitron, Pathology Department, University of Illinois, 2001 S Lincoln Ave, Urbana, IL 61802, USA; fax: 217-244-7421

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