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Department of Communications/
News Bureau
22 Davis Hall, 10 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 0288
Phone: 401-874-2116 Fax: 401-874-7872

URI to host forum on West Nile Virus on March 21

KINGSTON, R.I. -- March 5, 2001 -- A public forum to discuss mosquitoes and West Nile Virus in Rhode Island will be held March 21 at 7 p.m. in Corless Auditorium on the University of Rhode Island Bay Campus.

Sponsored by the URI Coastal Institute, the Rhode Island Natural History Survey, and URI’s Cooperative Ecosystems Study Unit, the forum is free and open to the public.

The forum is designed to provide an update on the status of West Nile Virus and its mosquito vectors, as well as to discuss the virus’s expected impact on Rhode Island during the coming summer.

Speakers will be: Roger LeBrun, URI professor of plant sciences, who will discuss the biology and epidemiology of the virus; Dennis White, director of the arthropod-borne disease program of the New York State Department of Health, relating New York’s experience with the virus; Howard Ginsberg, ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, discussing mosquito management techniques; and Al Gettman, mosquito abatement coordinator for the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, reporting on prospects for the virus in Rhode Island this year.

West Nile Virus was first detected in the Western Hemisphere in 1999 in New York City. Sixty-two cases of serious human illness resulted, along with numerous cases in wild birds. In 2000, 18 human cases were reported as the virus spread throughout the northeastern coastal states. Several dozen infected birds were found in Rhode Island.

For Information: Howard Ginsberg 874-4537, Todd McLeish 874-7892

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