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“The Ebola Freak” Visits Hamilton

(Photo from Institute of Tropical Medicine)

The Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Hamilton are bringing renowned Dr Guido van der Groen to the Hamilton High Performing Arts Center for a free public talk Friday.

“How A Virus Hunter Became An Ebola Freak” is van der Groen’s topic. He was one of the first scientists to isolate and identify the Ebola virus in 1976. At the time, he was a biochemist with the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Belgium. he has since retired.

Dr van der Groen and his ITM team, along with Dr Karl Johnson and a team from the Centers for Disease Control worked for months among the villagers in what was then Zaire and now is the Democratic Republic of the Congo. By the fall of 1976, there were 318 documented cases of Ebola hemorrhagic fever with an 88 percent fatality rate. The virus was named after the Ebola River.

Heinz Feldmann, MD, PhD, is chief scientist of the Level 4 Integrated Research Facility and oversees hemorrhagic fever research at RML. He said, “Guido was a leading figure in the field of emerging infectious diseases when I was starting a career; he was role model. He still has an extreme interest in science and always introduces fresh ideas to push the field further along.”

The talk will be at 7pm Friday, April 13 at the Hamilton High School Performing Art Center on Fairgrounds Road in Hamilton.

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