U-M experts available to talk about flu in face of early surge in cases

January 4, 2013
Written By:
Laurel Thomas

ANN ARBOR—The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting a third consecutive week of higher-than-normal cases of influenza, in a season that has seen more diagnoses much earlier than usual. The University of Michigan has a number of experts available to discuss flu transmission, diagnosis, prevention and management, and vaccine efficacy:

Allison Aiello, associate professor of epidemiology at the School of Public Health, investigates aspects of influenza transmission and non-pharmaceutical interventions for reducing influenza in the community setting. She can discuss the epidemiology of influenza and other respiratory viruses, hand hygiene quarantine and mask use interventions for mitigating influenza pandemics. Aiello currently is a principal investigator on randomized study of isolation to prevent transmission of influenza among students funded by the CDC. Aiello can be reached at [email protected] or (734) 615-9213.

Dr. Matthew Boulton, associate professor of epidemiology, health management and policy, and director of the preventive medicine residency at the School of Public Health, can discuss surveillance and field investigation of infectious diseases, uses of isolation and quarantine. He is the former chief medical executive, state epidemiologist and director of the Bureau of Epidemiology for the Michigan Department of Community Health where he served as the state’s lead scientist/epidemiologist, overseeing all communicable disease control, immunization programs, environmental health, and vital records and health statistics for the state of Michigan. Boulton can be reached at [email protected] or (734) 936-1623.

Alfred Hero, R. Jamison and Betty Williams Professors of Engineering in the departments of electrical engineering and computer science and biomedical engineering, can discuss why some people get sick with the flu and others don’t. Hero has studied the genomic signatures associated with immune response and flu symptoms. Watch a video about his research at www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZNVMbWxaqi4. Hero can be reached at [email protected] or (734) 763-5629.

Dr. James Koopman, professor of epidemiology at the School of Public Health, is concerned with all aspects of infectious diseases, including disease transmission and the control of infection spread in populations, newly emerging infections, vaccines and quarantine. Koopman can be reached at [email protected] or (734) 763-5629.

Dr. Howard Markel, director of the Center for the History of Medicine and a professor of the history of medicine and of pediatrics and communicable diseases at the U-M Medical School, can speak to the history of major influenza outbreaks. Under his direction, the center recently announced the first comprehensive digital resource, “The American Influenza Epidemic of 1918-1919: A Digital Encyclopedia” (www.influenzaarchive.org), which contains 16,000 documents detailing America’s experience with the influenza outbreak. Since 2006, Markel has served as the principal historical consultant on pandemic preparedness for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Markel can be reached at [email protected] or (734) 764-5453.

Dr. Arnold Monto, professor of epidemiology at the School of Public Health, is an internationally known expert involved in a variety of cold and flu research projects. Monto can address diagnosis, prevention and management of influenza, and has done considerable research on vaccine efficacy. He co-led the M-Flu study on hand hygiene and mask use as interventions for reducing flu transmission. Monto can be reached at [email protected] or (734) 764-5453.

Dr. Eden Wells, clinical associate professor of epidemiology and associate director of the Preventive Medicine Residency at the School of Public Health, has research interests in emerging infectious disease threats, including preparedness planning for pandemic influenza events. She formerly was with the Bureau of Epidemiology at the Michigan Department of Community Health, serving as a medical consultant and medical epidemiologist. She organized and facilitated the Michigan Pandemic Influenza Coordinating Committee, comprised of state agency pandemic planners, and assisted the development of Michigan’s State Pandemic Influenza Operational Plan utilized during the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic. Wells can be reached at [email protected] or (734) 763-6880.

Dr. Robert Winfield, U-M chief health officer and director of the University Health Service, can talk about flu spread among college students, what the university does to help remind students about how to prevent the flu, and what U-M is seeing in terms of flu complaints from students. Winfield can be reached at [email protected] or (734) 763-6880.