Opening Lecture to present the A to Z of infectious disease

The ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting each year features prestigious speakers that deliver groundbreaking lectures on crucial topics in medicine, and the 2017 Opening Lecture continues this special tradition.

Immunologist Anthony Fauci, MD, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), will present “Emerging and Re-Emerging Infectious Diseases: From AIDS to Zika.” The opening session takes place from 4:30 – 6:15 pm on Saturday, Nov. 4. Dr. Fauci is scheduled to start the Opening Lecture at 5:30 pm. He will explore global public health efforts to control and contain these infectious diseases, the clinical impact on patients, and what rheumatologists need to know when and if these infections cross their borders.

“Dr. Fauci will talk about the impact of current infections that may have symptoms that mimic rheumatic diseases or cause joint pain,” said Richard Loeser, MD, Chair of the Annual Meeting Planning Committee, which planned all of this year’s sessions and programs.

Although major advances have been achieved in the development of countermeasures such as diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccine, the ease of world travel and increased global interdependence have added layers of complexity to efforts to contain emerging diseases. HIV/AIDS, the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014-2016, and the recent emergence of Zika virus in the western hemisphere are three examples. Other emerging infections have been less catastrophic than these examples, but they have also taken a substantial toll in terms of morbidity and mortality and economic losses.

Dr. Fauci, appointed NIAID director in 1984, has advised five presidents and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on HIV/AIDS and many other domestic and global health issues and was one of the principal architects of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), a program that has saved millions of lives throughout the developing world. He oversees NIAID’s nearly $5 billion budget that includes an extensive research portfolio of basic and applied research to prevent, diagnose, and treat established infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, respiratory infections, diarrheal diseases, tuberculosis, and malaria as well as emerging diseases such as Ebola and Zika. NIAID also supports research on transplantation and immune-related illnesses, including autoimmune disorders, asthma, and allergies.