K-State Research and Extension

K-State News Conference on H1N1 Flu


NEWS CONFERENCE: The swine flu: what it is, why it´s an issue, fact vs. fiction
Kansas State University animal health experts Richard Hesse, Juergen Richt and Robert Rowland will be joined by Steve Henry, swine veterinarian in private practice, Ingrid Garrison of the Kansas Department of Health and environment, and Robert Tackett, medical director at K-State's Lafene Student Health Center.

TIME, DATE, LOCATION: 10 a.m. Wednesday, April 29, in the Biosecurity Research

The news conference will begin with remarks and introductions by Dr. Jerry Jaax, associate vice president for research compliance and university veterinarian.

Panel members include:

Ingrid Garrison, the environmental health officer and state public health veterinarian for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. She holds a DVM degree from K-State and a master of public health degree from the University of Iowa. She completed a two-year fellowship with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Epidemic Intelligence Service. She served as the Epidemic Intelligence Service officer for the Illinois Department of Health, Division of Infectious Diseases. In addition, she is the public health officer for the 190th Air Refueling Wing at Forbes Field in Topeka.

Steve Henry, an Abilene veterinarian who specializes in swine herd health, will give an overview of what the flu is, and discuss what is happening with the virus. Henry, a K-State graduate, also is an adjunct faculty member at K-State, and is recognized as a national expert in swine health. He is a Fellow of the Morris Animal Foundation and a Diplomate of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners in Swine Health Management.

Dick Hesse, K-State's director of diagnostic virology, has the opportunity to isolate, identify and characterize emerging and re-emerging viral disease agents. Hesse together with colleagues from the United States and New Zealand, was part of an investigative team that made a two-week visit to China in December 2007 to study porcine high fever disease and help Chinese scientists diagnose the disease complex that struck their pig population. He has licensed eight USDA approved vaccines, and holds two vaccine patents.

Juergen Richt, Regents Distinguished Professor, College of Veterinary Medicine, is an expert in diagnosing and treating zoonotic diseases, which are diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans. Richt is a veterinary microbiologist who has worked with multiple agents of zoonotic potential, including emerging viral diseases of swine. Richt's career, which most recently included a seven-year stint as lead scientist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Animal Disease Center, has been spent developing novel testing methods and remedies for a number of animal and zoonotic diseases.

Raymond R. R. (Bob) Rowland, investigates emerging disease problems in swine, with an emphasis on viral infections. Results of his work are being applied to the development of novel vaccine and diagnostic testing strategies. Rowland leads the Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome Coordinated Agricultural Project, a U.S. Department of Agriculture $4.8 million grant to support a comprehensive national program aimed at controlling porcine disease. Under the project, K-State's experts collaborate with other universities, veterinarians, commodity groups, government agencies and swine producers to combat the disease.

Robert J. Tackett, M.D., is medical director at K-State's Lafene Student Health Center.