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Kansas State University

Ebola Virus Experts to Discuss Work in K-State Presentation


Manhattan -- The deadly virus Ebola is back in the news with reports of an outbreak in Uganda which has claimed more than 150 lives. The virus can cause the often fatal disease, Ebola hemmorhagic fever.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, no cases of Ebola hemmorhagic fever in humans have been reported in the United States. However, the disease did kill several monkeys imported to research facilities in the United States and Italy from the Philippines. The 1989 incident was known as the Reston Ebola virus outbreak.

Jerry and Nancy Jaax, both doctor of veterinary medicine graduates from Kansas State University, were key participants in dealing with the Reston Ebola outbreak as U.S. Army veterinarians. The outbreak was detailed in Richard Preston's best-selling book, "The Hot Zone." As part of K-State's Provost's Lecture Series, the Jaaxes will present "Experiences With the Ebola Virus" at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 25, in the Hemisphere Room at Hale Library. The presentation is free and the public is welcome.

Jerry Jaax is now university research compliance officer and a university veterinarian at K-State. He previously served with the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps. His assignments included chief of the veterinary medicine and laboratory support at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute for Chemical Defense at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., and chief of the veterinary medicine division at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick, Md. He also served as director of the Army's postgraduate training program in laboratory animal medicine, and was the director of the Biological Arms Control Treaty Office at Fort Detrick, where he was responsible for overall compliance of the U.S. Army with all international biological warfare treaties and agreements. A colonel, he retired from the Army in 1998. 

Nancy Jaax, a colonel, is an Army veterinary pathologist. Much of her research has been on the development of diseases from high hazard viruses, including Ebola. She joined the Army Veterinary Corps in 1973. In 1979 she was accepted into the Army veterinary pathology residency training program at Fort Detrick and attained board certification in veterinary pathology in 1983. She has served in her current post since 1989 and has been a consultant in veterinary pathology to the Army's surgeon general since 1990.

Prepared by Beth Bohn.