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University of Iowa News Release

April 17, 2003

UI To Host Program On Smallpox May 1 In Peosta

The University of Iowa College of Public Health and the UI Alumni Association are co-sponsoring an educational program for the general public titled, "Smallpox: From Past Affliction to Present-Day Threat." The program, which is free of charge, will take place Thursday, May 1 at Northeast Iowa Community College, Conference Center 1, 10250 Sundown Road, in Peosta. A reception with light refreshments will begin at 5 p.m., followed by the 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. program.

Although smallpox was eradicated worldwide in the late 1970s, today there are concerns that the virus might be used in a bioterrorist attack. How serious is this threat? What happened during the first smallpox epidemics in the Americas? What do you need to know to protect your family? To help answer these questions, three speakers from the UI will present information about the history of the smallpox virus, vaccinations and current emergency response plans, as well as how biological specimens are collected and shipped to the UI Hygienic Laboratory for testing.

The presenters include Gregory Gray, M.D., professor of epidemiology, UI College of Public Health; Beth Pauls, Ph.D., state archaeologist, UI Office of the State Archaeologist; and Michael Pentella, Ph.D., public health medical microbiologist, UI Hygienic Laboratory.

Due to limited seating, those planning to attend the program are asked to register in advance by contacting Jasmine Grassi at (319) 384-5485 or by e-mail at

The program has been approved for 0.1 nursing continuing education credits (Northeast Iowa Community College, Provider # 7) for a fee of $6.

This outreach program has been planned in cooperation with Northeast Iowa Community College. The statewide College of Public Health Educational Outreach Series is funded in part by a grant from the Principal Financial Group Foundation. More information about the educational outreach programs, including a schedule of upcoming events, can be found at

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa College of Public Health Office of Communications, 4257 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242.

CONTACT(S): Media: Debra Venzke, 319-335-9647, Program: Jasmine Grassi, (319) 384-5485.