Virus specialists to discuss outbreaks

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    By APRIL HOL

    The internationally renown virus specialists who are the real-life stars of the movie “Outbreak” and the subject of Richard Preston’s best-selling book, “The Hot Zone,” will speak Friday in the JSB auditorium from 8 to 10:50 a.m.

    Speaking at the College of Biology and Agriculture’s symposium, Cols. Gerald and Nancy Jaax from the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases will discuss emerging infectious diseases. The symposium is titled “A Desolating Sickness: New and Resistant Diseases. What’s Causing Them? How Do We Control Them?”

    “We’re so excited about the caliber of our speakers that we have canceled all our biology and agriculture classes that morning,” said Kim O’Neill, a BYU microbiologist.

    Introductory remarks will be made by KSL-TV science reporter, Ed Yeates, and at 10:50 a.m. Yeates will moderate a question-and-answer session with the speakers.

    In preparation for the symposium, there will be a free showing of the movie “Outbreak” tonight at 7 in the JSB auditorium.

    On Friday, two videos will be shown, featuring the symposium scientists. They can be seen at 3 and 4 p.m. “Plague Fighters,” a NOVA documentary showing the effects of emerging viruses in Africa, will be shown in 446 MARB. “On the Trail of a Killer Virus” retells the search for the virus that killed many people in the southwestern United States in 1993. It will be shown in 455 MARB.

    The Jaaxes will tell the story of the Ebola virus outbreak among a group of monkeys at a U.S. Army research facility in December 1989. It took 18 days to decontaminate the building and destroy 450 infected monkeys.

    Stephen Morse, assistant professor of virology at Rockefeller University, and Craig Nichols, Utah State Epidemiologist, will also speak.

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