Keeping disease at bay

UNIVERSITI Tunku Abdul Rahman (Utar) recently held a talk on “New and Emerging Infectious Diseases” at its Petaling Jaya campus in Selangor.

The talk was given by Harvard Medical School's Prof Stephen B. Calderwood, who is also the external examiner for Utar’s biomedical science degree programme.

Prof Calderwood speaking to some of the participants who stayed back afterhis talk.

About 300 people – Utar staff and students as well as members of the public – attended the talk.

Prof Calderwood shared his knowledge on various disease outbreaks in the world over the past three decades, highlighting three diseases in particular – clostridium difficile, methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, and avian influenza.

He also talked about the causes of infection, methods of treatment as well as the latest research findings on vaccines.

Excessive use of antibiotics may cause increase in anti-microbial resistance and lead to the faster spread of infectious diseases, said Prof Calderwood, adding that doctors should prescribe antibiotics only when necessary, and then in the right dosage.

“Doctors should also keep track of their patients’ progress over the next few days,” he added.

He also urged medical practitioners to update their knowledge on diseases regularly and report unusual illnesses immediately.

“I found the talk very comprehensive,” said Thayalan S Arumugam, 35, from the pharmaceutical industry. “Prof Calderwood is a very interesting and dynamic speaker.”

“I learnt a great deal about how diseases spread from animals to human beings,” said businesswoman Melissa Mun Lai Kuen.

Prof Calderwood also paid a visit to Utar's Kuala Lumpur campus, where he shared his expertise on cholera with the biomedical science students.

“Biomedical science graduates can work in a wide range of industries, including the pharmaceutical and public health care sectors. They can focus on areas such as vaccines and antibiotics,” said Prof Calderwood.

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