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UGA experts available to speak on 2011-2012 flu season

Athens, Ga. – Like all public places, the University of Georgia has its share of germs. But it also has experts who can help UGA students—and Georgia communities—stay healthier this flu season.

Flu activity can begin as early as October; and, while it typically peaks in January or February, it can continue as late as May, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“People should recognize the signs and symptoms of influenza like illness-that would be fever plus respiratory symptoms such as coughing and sore throat,” said Christopher Whalen, a professor of epidemiology and biostatistics in the UGA College of Public Health. “And they should seek advice from their physician if they develop those symptoms.”

For more on the flu season, contact the UGA experts listed below. They’re available to talk about the dangers and the normalcies of the 2011-2012 flu season.

In the College of Public Health:

Christopher Whalen, MD, is board certified in infectious diseases and internal medicine. He is also a member of the Infectious Diseases Society of America and can provide information on preventing illness and current treatment methods. He can be reached at or 706/227-4736.

Mark Ebell, MD, is an associate professor of epidemiology. His specialties related to flu are clinical epidemiology, evidence-based medicine, point-of-care decision support and diagnosis of common medical problems. He is also deputy editor of American Family Physician and editor-in-chief of Essential Evidence. Ebell can be reached at or 706/542-1585.

In the College of Veterinary Medicine:

Ralph Tripp is a professor in the department of infectious diseases, the Georgia Research Alliance Chair of Animal Health Vaccine Development and a GRA Eminent Scholar. His research interests include understanding the mechanisms of immunity and disease pathogenesis associated with respiratory virus infection and using this information to develop therapeutic protocols and vaccines that will confer long-term protective immunity.

Mark Tompkins is an assistant professor in the department of infectious diseases. He and Tripp are experts in novel approaches for detection, vaccination and treatment of viral infections-particularly human and avian influenza.

To interview Tripp or Tompkins, contact Katherine Gilmore at 706/583-5485 or