United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
Seminar on pathogens causing diseases like severe acute respiratory syndrome

Paris - As countries struggle to prevent the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), UNESCO and the European Academy of Arts, Sciences and Humanities will bring together leading scientists to debate ways of responding to this kind of disease and others at a seminar entitled, “Basic Sciences and Emerging Pathogenic Factors,” May 17 to 18, at the Science Centre of the Polish Academy in Paris*.



More than 60 scientists are expected to attend the seminar, which will include three roundtables. The first roundtable, led by Prof. Jeanne Bugère-Picoux (a French specialist in animal pathology), will focus on what is commonly referred to as “mad cow disease”, which is part of the larger family of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs). Researchers will present the latest findings on TSEs, also known as prion diseases, which are a group of rare degenerative brain disorders characterized by microscopic holes that give the brain a "spongy" appearance.

The second roundtable, led by Dr. Diego Buriot of the World Health Organization, will focus on emerging viral diseases like SARS and viral hemorrhagic fevers (VHFs) such as Ebola. These viral fevers generally attack several organs, while damaging the body's ability to regulate itself. The symptoms are often accompanied by bleeding. Many of these viruses cause severe, life-threatening disease and most are zoonotic, which means that they ‘jump’ to humans from animal hosts, mainly rodents and insects like ticks and mosquitoes.

The third roundtable, also led by Prof. Brugère-Picoux, will focus on emerging bacterial disease, especially those transmitted by ticks. Ticks are currently considered to be second only to mosquitoes as vectors of human infectious diseases in the world. In the United States, for example, more than 16,000 people contract Lyme disease each year, after being bitten by infected deer ticks.

The seminar will conclude with a series of recommendations on ways to effectively combat emerging pathogens.


*The Science Centre of the Polish Academy is located at 74, rue Lauriston, 75016, Paris. The seminar will take place on May 17 (9:00 to 17:00) and May 18 (10:00 to 15:00).



 
Author(s) UNESCOPRESS
Source Media Advisory N°2003 - 41
Editorial Contact: Lucy Hoareau: UNESCO Life Sciences SectionTel: +33 (0) 1 45 68 38 95 Fax: +33 (0) 1 45 68 58 16
- Email l.hoareau@unesco.org
Publication Date 15 May 2003
© UNESCO 1995-2007 - ID: 12175