Posted April 29, 2009
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Health Care

U of G Providing Expertise on Swine Flu

Guelph - Canadians looking to learn more about the swine flu are likely to come across faculty and researchers from the University of Guelph during their search for information. U of G experts are front and centre in the media these days, providing everything from background to insight and commentary on a range of issues related to the outbreak.

On Monday, Prof. David Waltner-Toews of the Department of Population Medicine was featured on the national CBC radio program The Current. He talked about zoonotic diseases (those that can jump between animals and humans), the swine flu virus and conditions that can lead to such outbreaks. He also took part in an online interview with CBC.ca (CBC's online news agency), providing answers to frequently asked questions on the topic. Waltner-Toews, president of Veterinarians Without Borders Canada, is the author of The Chickens Fight Back: Pandemic Panics and Deadly Diseases That Jump From Animals to People. Published in 2007, the book disentangles myth from reality about zoonoses.

Also on Monday, Davor Ojkic, a scientist with the Animal Health Lab, was featured in CTV news reports, discussing the origins of the virus and safety issues. The southwestern Ontario segment also highlighted the testing and research conducted at the U of G laboratory.

Ridgetown Campus agricultural economics professor Ken McEwen has been discussing the possible economic impacts of the outbreak in the media, including in Better Farming magazine.

Other U of G experts continue to make themselves available to discuss the outbreak, including population medicine professors Cate Dewey and Jan Sargeant. Dewey, who will be featured on CTV news Tuesday night, studies swine health management and pig diseases, among other things.

Sargeant is director of the U of G's Centre for Public Health and Zoonoses. This one-of-a-kind facility at the Ontario Veterinary College brings together researchers to address new or re-emerging zoonotic diseases such as bird flu, SARS, E. coli 0157:H7 and West Nile virus that threaten public health.

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