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University of Iowa News Release

Sept. 16, 2005

Pandemic Influenza Topic Of Sept. 22 Program

The 20th century witnessed three influenza pandemics: Spanish flu (1918-19), Asian flu (1957-58) and Hong Kong flu (1968-69). Given the cyclical nature of pandemics, where and when do health officials think the next "big one" will hit?

On Thursday, Sept. 22, animal influenza experts Christopher Olsen from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Dennis Senne from the U.S. Department of Agriculture will discuss the threat of pandemic influenza and how it could impact U.S. citizens as well as domestic animals.

The program, "Pandemic Influenza: How Real Is the Threat?" will be held from noon to 1 p.m. in room 5236 of the Westlawn Building on the University of Iowa campus, and is free and open to the public. It also will be broadcast live over the Iowa Communications Network and via streaming video on the Web.

In their talk, Senne and Olsen will provide an overview of the avian influenza virus that is spreading rapidly in Asia, explain the roles birds and swine play in influenza pandemics, and describe current efforts to contain and control the spread of influenza

Olsen received his D.V.M. degree from Cornell University in 1982. After six years in mixed-animal veterinary practice, he returned to Cornell and received a Ph.D. in virology in 1992. He currently is a professor of public health in the Department of Pathobiological Sciences at the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research focuses on public health aspects of influenza in pigs and the genetic factors that control the spread of influenza viruses among people, pigs and birds.

Senne is a poultry specialist in the Diagnostic Virology Laboratory at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa. He is a graduate of Iowa State University where he received a B.S. and an M.S. in the Department of Veterinary Microbiology and Preventive Medicine. He has over 37 years of experience in laboratory diagnosis of viral diseases of domestic animals and avian species. Senne was involved in the identification and characterization of the first Asian H5N1 virus isolated from chickens in Hong Kong in 1997.

This program is part of the fall 2005 Grand Rounds series sponsored by the Upper Midwest Center for Public Health Preparedness (UMCPHP). Advanced registration is requested and may be completed online at Links to the live Web broadcast, as well as archives of past presentations, are available on the center's site.

In addition, UI Television (UITV) also will be showing the archived presentation. More information about the UITV service area and program schedule can be found on the UITV Web site,

The presentation is sponsored by the Upper Midwest Center for Public Health Preparedness, based in the UI College of Public Health; Iowa Association of Local Public Health Agencies; Iowa Department of Public Health; and Iowa Hospital Association. UMCPHP is funded by a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For more information on the Grand Round series, contact Angela Harding, program assistant in the Upper Midwest Center for Public Health Preparedness, at 319-335-8451 or by e-mail at

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

MEDIA CONTACT: Debra Venzke, 319-335-9647,