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Posted on: May 4, 2017

INTERNATIONAL INFECTIOUS DISEASE EXPERT DR. RITA COLWELL

CALVERT MARINE MUSEUM

P.O. Box 97 - 14200 Solomons Island Road

Solomons, MD 20688

Traci Cimini  - 410-326-2042 x62

ciminita@co.cal.md.us

CMM-PR-17-31

May 4, 2017

For Immediate Release  - Also include in community calendars

 

INTERNATIONAL INFECTIOUS DISEASE EXPERT DR. RITA COLWELL 

What everyone who works or plays on the water needs to know


Dr. Rita R. Colwell, a recognized expert on Vibrio vulnificus, a flesh eating bacteria found in the Chesapeake Bay, will speak at the Calvert Marine Museum on Friday, May 19 at 6:30 p.m. in the Harms Gallery. Dr. Colwell, a global infectious disease specialist, is the recipient of the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star; the 2006 National Medal of Science; and the Stockholm Water Prize in 2010 for her contributions toward solving water-related public health problems.

Vibrio vulnificus causes infection that can occur after eating raw or undercooked seafood; the bacteria can also enter the body through open wounds when swimming or wading in infected waters. People with compromised immune systems are eighty times more susceptible to Vibrio vulnificus. Symptoms can include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and a blistering dermatitis. Immediate treatment from third generation antibiotics is necessary for survival from a suspected case of Vibrio vulnificus. Having accurate information and the ability to recognize symptoms is critical for those working around the water.

Roy Fedders, a member of the Health Coalition for St. Mary’s County, became concerned about this problem several years ago when it affected two of his neighbors. He most recently published an article in the Southern Maryland Newspaper on Wednesday, May 3 and coordinated the contact with Dr. Colwell. “People need to be aware of this often misdiagnosed bacterium that, if not treated within 48 hours, can be fatal. It is believed that there are quite a few cases nationally and locally that have gone unreported due to misdiagnosis.”

Dr. Rita Colwell is Chairman of Canon US Life Sciences, Inc. and Distinguished University Professor at University of Maryland College Park and Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. She served as the 11th Director of the National Science Foundation and has held many advisory positions in the U.S. Government, nonprofit science policy organizations, and private foundations, as well as in the international scientific research community. A nationally-respected scientist and educator, Dr. Colwell has authored or co-authored 17 books and more than 700 scientific publications. She produced the award-winning film “Invisible Seas.”

Dr. Colwell has an undergraduate degree in bacteriology and an M.S. in genetics from Purdue University, and a Ph.D. in oceanography from the University of Washington. She did a post-doctoral fellowship at the National Research Council of Canada in Ottawa and has been awarded 55 honorary degrees from higher education institutions.

She served as President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Society for Microbiology. She is a member of the (US) National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society, as well as the Royal Society of Canada and the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (since 2003). As of 2008, she serves as President of the American Institute of Biological Sciences.

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The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $9.00 for adults, $7.00 for seniors, military with valid I.D. and AAA members, and $4.00 for children ages 5 - 12; children under 5 and museum members are always admitted free. For more information about the museum, upcoming events, or membership, visit the website at www.calvertmarinemuseum.com or call 410-326-2042. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, Google+, Instagram and Pinterest.

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