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Biological-threat Expert to Lecture

By George Lewis

 

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Presley, who completed a post-doctoral fellowship at UK, will speak about the threat of weaponized diseases, including bubonic plague. Weaponized diseases or agents are those that are produced in quantity, and/or filled into munitions, and/or made more virulent.

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Lexington, Ky. (Dec. 4, 2002) -- The threat of insect-borne biological agents used as weapons will be the topic of a lecture by Steven Presley at 4 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5, in the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture Seay Auditorium, Agriculture Science North Building.

Presley, who completed a post-doctoral fellowship at UK, will speak about the threat of weaponized diseases, including bubonic plague. Weaponized diseases or agents are those that are produced in quantity, and/or filled into munitions, and/or made more virulent.

Presley underscored plague's potential as a weapon by noting that in the late 1930s the Japanese, in their war with China, overflew an area of Manchuria, dropping plague-infected fleas and grain. The grain attracted rats, the fleas infected the rats, and the rats spread the weaponized plague to the populace, killing about 30,000.

Presley is an associate professor of environmental toxicology at Texas Tech University and is research coordinator for the Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt, Jr. National Program for Countermeasures to Biological and Chemical Threats.

Presley has led surveillance-and-control operations and research efforts during outbreaks of various diseases. His lecture is sponsored by the UK Department of Entomology; Office of the Associate Dean of Research, College of Agriculture; and the Office of the Vice President for Research at UK.


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