Director of National Institute to Kick Off Conference with Update on Infectious Diseases

The annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) and the Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals (ARHP) will kick off at the opening session on Saturday, Nov. 4. The session will feature immunologist Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), who will discuss “Emerging and Re-Emerging Infectious Diseases: From AIDS to Zika.”

Major advancements have been made in the prevention, identification and treatment of infectious diseases, but ease of global travel and international interdependence complicate efforts to minimize the spread of such diseases.

Dr. Fauci will explore global efforts to control and contain infectious diseases, the impact on patients, and what rheumatologists need to know when and if such infections enter their countries. He will use examples such as HIV/AIDS, the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014–2016, and the recent emergence of Zika virus in the Western Hemisphere.

The topics are of particular relevance to the rheumatology community because some current infectious diseases lead to symptoms that may mimic rheumatic diseases and/or joint pain, said Richard Loeser, MD, chair of the annual meeting’s planning committee.

The specific learning objectives of Dr. Fauci’s lecture are:

  • Describe the determinants of infectious disease emergence and re-emergence.
  • Discuss the epidemiology of infectious diseases that have recently emerged or re-emerged.
  • Outline the medical and public responses to recently emergent diseases.

Dr. Fauci has been NIAID director since 1984, and he oversees NIAID’s nearly $5 billion budget, including an extensive research portfolio to prevent, diagnose and treat established infectious diseases. NIAID also supports research on transplantation and immune-related illnesses, including autoimmune disorders, asthma and allergies.