WMU News

CDC expert talks about hepatitis immunization strategies

July 9, 2003

KALAMAZOO -- An epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will visit the Western Michigan University campus on Friday to talk about immunization strategies for viral hepatitis among high-risk and college populations.

Dr. Rob Lyerla is an epidemiologist in the Division of Viral Hepatitis at the CDC's offices in Atlanta. His presentation is from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Room 205 of the Bernhard Center and will be followed by a question-and-answer session. The presentation is free and open to the public.

Upon joining the CDC in 1995 as a member of the Epidemic Intelligence Service, Lyerla served as a member of the international team working on the diphtheria epidemic in the former Soviet Union. He also was involved in the CDC team assisting in the monitoring of hepatitis outbreaks during the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta and investigated an outbreak of dengue fever in the British Virgin Islands.

Currently, he is studying the risk of infection of blood-borne hepatitis in a number of at-risk populations, including hemodialysis patients, injection drug users, prisoners, homosexual men and people engaged in such practices as tattooing or body piercing. He also is responsible for promoting the agency's efforts in enhancing hepatitis vaccine delivery and overcoming missed opportunities for hepatitis vaccine delivery in a number of high-risk groups, including homosexual men, college students, Native Americans, the homeless and prisoners.

Lyerla's appearance was coordinated by Dr. Kieran Fogarty, associate professor of occupational therapy and founding faculty member of the interdisciplinary health studies doctoral program.

Lyerla's presentation is intended primarily for doctoral students in the summer seminar on health care policy, but is open to the public on a space-available basis. Seating is limited. For more information or to reserve a seat, call (269) 387-3263.

Media contact: Mark Schwerin, 269 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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