Infectious disease expert to speak at American Academy of Ophthalmology's annual meeting

SAN FRANCISCO Gary N. Holland, MD, the David May II Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of California, Los Angeles, and Director of the Ocular Inflammatory Disease Center and the Clinical Research Center at the Jules Stein Eye Institute, will deliver the Jackson Memorial Lecture on the topic "Ocular Toxoplasmosis: A Global Reassessment" at the opening ceremonies of the Academy's Annual Meeting, Sunday, November 16, 2003, in Anaheim, Calif.

The Jackson Memorial Lecture is named after Edward Jackson, MD, who was professor and chairman of ophthalmology at the University of Colorado, president of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology in 1903, and the first chairman of what is now the American Board of Ophthalmology.

Toxoplasmosis is a parasitic disease usually transmitted by ingestion of undercooked meat, especially lamb and pork, or unwashed vegetables contaminated with dirt containing cat feces. The parasite reproduces in the gut of the cat, but can infect many animals. Recently it has also been shown that some outbreaks of the disease were caused by contaminated drinking water, a previously unrecognized source of infection.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, "More than 60 million people in the United States probably carry the Toxoplasma parasite, but very few have symptoms because the immune system usually keeps the parasite from causing illness." Toxoplasmosis can be life-threatening in immunocompromised individuals, but even healthy individuals can have permanent vision loss, if the parasite gets into the eye. Ocular toxoplasmosis is the most common infection of the retina (the inner lining of the eye) in many parts of the world, including the United States.

Dr. Holland's address will describe advances in the understanding of ocular toxoplasmosis, since it was first recognized as a cause of blindness in adults 50 years ago. He also will use these advances in the understanding of toxoplasmo

Contact: Media Relations
American Academy of Ophthalmology

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