Influenza presentation offers look at disease, past and present

San Antonio (Jan. 12, 2004) – “Influenza: Past and Present” is the topic of a presentation Thursday, Jan. 15, at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Admission is free and the public is invited.

Gregory Anstead, M.D., infectious disease specialist at the Health Science Center, will speak at noon on the fifth floor of the Dolph Briscoe Jr. Library at the Health Science Center’s Central Campus, 7703 Floyd Curl Drive.

The presentation, sponsored by the Friends of the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library, will address the conditions surrounding the 1918 influenza pandemic, which killed more people in a shorter period than any other event in history, and the methods developed since then to control and monitor influenza worldwide.

The presentation also will include information about this year’s early influenza outbreak, which has caused a rush to obtain influenza vaccines. Usually the peak of the flu season is in February. The virus changes every year by small degrees, called antigenic drift, which requires new vaccines to be developed and administered. However, predicting which strain of influenza will be predominant is an imperfect science and this year’s vaccine does not optimally protect against the predominant strain of flu being experienced this season.

Dr. Anstead’s infectious disease interests include zoonotic infections, tropical medicine and the historical epidemiology of infectious diseases. He has received a Young Investigator Award from the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and an Advanced Research Career Development Award from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

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