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'Ask a Scientist' kicks off spring series with infectious disease expert

| Diane Walkoff

Dr. Larry Lutwick

Dr. Larry Lutwick

Outbreaks of infectious diseases are more prevalent and more easily spread in our connected world. An Eau Claire physician who specializes in infectious diseases will provide an overview of the types, causes and scientific responses to outbreaks during an upcoming community presentation.

Dr. Larry Lutwick, a physician at Mayo Clinic Health System-Eau Claire and a professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic School of Medicine, will present "Epidemics in a Connected World" at 7 p.m. Feb. 13 to open the spring "Ask a Scientist" series at the Acoustic Café in downtown Eau Claire. The event is free and open to all.

Lutwick will highlight the diverse ways in which infectious disease outbreaks are caused. He also will focus on worldwide and local outbreaks in the past and present, including multi-drug-resistant bacterial infections, the new SARS-like coronavirus outbreak in Asia and infections that have emerged or recurred in Wisconsin.

"Given the current coronavirus outbreak, having Dr. Lutwick open the series is certainly timely and of immense value for increasing our understanding of pandemics," says Dr. Paula Kleintjes Neff, professor and chair of the UW-Eau Claire biology department and the series coordinator.

Lutwick welcomes the opportunity to share his extensive experience and knowledge with the community.

"As an infectious diseases physician, member of the Program for Monitoring Emerging Diseases and contributor to the current Smithsonian Museum of Natural History’s exhibit on infectious disease epidemics, I believe that an informed community is vitally important in early recognition and response to such outbreaks," Lutwick says.

The "Ask a Scientist" series, a collaboration between the UW-Eau Claire biology department and the education committee of Mayo Clinic Health System-Eau Claire, is aimed at bringing a better understanding of scientific findings to the public in ways that can be understood by all.

"This is a great opportunity to meet and learn from a respected expert about an important medical issue," says Dr. Donn Dexter, chair of education for Mayo Clinic Health System in northwest Wisconsin. "This is bringing medical grand rounds to our community, and I hope many people take advantage of this learning opportunity."

For more information about the "Ask a Scientist" series and upcoming programs, view a related story.