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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University July 24, 2006 | Vol. 35 No. 40
In Brief


JHU convenes meeting on influenza pandemic planning

With the very real possibility of an influenza pandemic looming in the background, Johns Hopkins this week is convening what is thought to be the world's first meeting of international experts to examine how poor and disadvantaged populations would fare under a number of mass influenza-related scenarios.

Ruth Faden, executive director of the Phoebe R. Berman Bioethics Institute, and Ruth Karron, professor of international health and a member of the Center for Immunization Research at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, are convening the July 24-28 conference in Bellagio, Italy.

Hosted by the Rockefeller Foundation, the meeting will bring together experts to discuss global and national policies and practices on biosecurity, food security, human disease surveillance and disease containment strategies. In preparation for the first-of-its-kind meeting, a number of countries have submitted existing pandemic response plans for analysis. To help lower the potential for unjust responses in the face of a mass outbreak, the group plans to closely examine existing public policy and pandemic planning efforts, and to make recommendations.

Public health officials and experts from U.S. universities, CARE International, Human Rights Watch, the World Bank and the World Health Organization are among the participants, who include attendees from the United States, Australia, China, Indonesia, Italy, Malawi, Nigeria, Thailand, Vietnam and the United Nations.

In the event of an influenza pandemic, the world's poor and disadvantaged populations-particularly children in developing countries-are thought most likely to be hardest hit.


Scientists use satellite images to predict hantavirus outbreaks

Scientists from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the University of New Mexico predict that the Four Corners region of the United States (where Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah meet) will be at greater risk for hantavirus infection this year than in 2005. In addition, they also warned that parts of southern Colorado and north-central New Mexico, previously at low risk for hantavirus compared to the Four Corners region, will be at increased risk in 2006. The forecast is based on an analysis of satellite imagery and is published in the July 12 edition of the journal Occasional Papers of the Museum of Texas Tech University. The study is among the first to forecast the locations and extent of infectious disease outbreaks.

Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome is a rare but deadly respiratory disease caused by exposure to a variety of hantaviruses. People contract the virus through contact with rodents and rodent droppings. In 2005, the Four Corners region recorded four cases of hantavirus. The researchers forecast the hantavirus risk in 2006 to be "moderate," similar in severity to the six and eight cases recorded in the region in 1998 and 1999, respectively.

"The conditions in the Four Corners region tell us that there is a greater risk for hantavirus this year compared to last year," said Gregory E. Glass, the study's lead author and a professor in the W. Harry Feinstone Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at the Bloomberg School. "Our study demonstrates that satellite imagery can be used to identify the location and extent of infectious diseases spread by animals."


Coeus software training begins for federal grant submissions

Coeus, the new software that faculty and staff will use to prepare and submit grant proposals electronically, makes its official Johns Hopkins debut this week.

Starting today, about 110 people from various departmental offices will begin learning how to use the new software. After the one-day class, they can immediately begin using Coeus to prepare and directly submit grants through, the federal government's portal for grant submissions.

By the end of 2007, should be the single grant-submission portal for all 26 federal funding agencies, representing more than $450 billion in annual research funding.

Eventually, ongoing Coeus training will involve thousands of faculty and researchers, with most training occurring online. Most faculty will be trained in Coeus 4.2 in the fall.

Coeus will also tie in with SAP, the new business systems software that Johns Hopkins is installing through the HopkinsOne project. That software is scheduled to launch in January 2007.


R.I. Sen. Jack Reed to speak at SAIS about future of Iraq

Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., will give a talk titled "Iraq: The Road Ahead" on Monday, July 31, at SAIS. The forum, which begins at 6 p.m., is hosted by the Philip Merrill Center for Strategic Studies at SAIS.

Reed, a former paratrooper and a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, recently returned from his eighth visit to Iraq. His two-day fact-finding mission included stops in Basra, Baghdad and Fallujah and meetings with America's top generals and Iraqi civilian leaders.

During his speech, the senator will address the progress made in Iraq and what must be done to stabilize the country, protect American interests and allow U.S. troops to redeploy in a safe and timely manner.

John McLaughlin, Merrill Center senior fellow and former acting director of the CIA, will introduce the senator and moderate the discussion.

The event will be held in the Nitze Building's Kenney Auditorium. Non-SAIS affiliates should RSVP to or 202-663-5648.


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