Ford Fights Swine Flu Outbreak

Haverford alums showed up in all kinds of places last week, many of which were spotlighted by The New York Times and other newspapers.

Dr. Richard P. Wenzel ’61, chairman of internal medicine at Virginia Commonwealth U’s medical school and former president of the International Society for Infectious Diseases, was The Times’ poster physician on August 10 for a long discussion by the paper’s medical correspondent, Lawrence Altman, M.D., of the worldwide effort to combat swine flu.

Wenzel recently traveled in the US  and to Mexico and four South American countries at the invitation of former trainees now in those countries to observe cases, advise on control messages and examine data.

One of Wenzel’s surprising discoveries, according to The Times:

“An odd feature of the new virus is the lack of fever in a significant proportion of documented cases, even after some patients become seriously ill. In Chile, it was about half,  in Mexico City about a third, and elsewhere, less.  Lack of fever has been noted by other observers in several Canadian cases.”

This is a crucial observation since “absence of fever, when fever is specified in the definition (of swine flu), can cause serious underestimation of data,” says Altman.

He adds “absence of fever (also) limits the usefulness of thermal scans to identify people who have the virus and thus control the pandemic.”

Read the whole story about this frontline warrior in the fight against the threatened pandemic here: Seeking Lessons in Swine Flu Fight

For involvement of a well-known Haverford alumnus in a lighter sphere, check out yesterday’s Times (August 16, Metropolitan Section, p. 2). Michael Wilson’s ostensible account of how Colin Harrison ’82 spends summer Sundays watching his son Walker, 17, play baseball becomes a profile of the writer and magazine editor.

Readers learn about Colin’s definition of a philosopher (“someone who’s jaywalking without looking for oncoming traffic”), his obsession with maps of New York City, and his discovery of potential characters for his novels while en route to the games.

Several vignettes describe the Harrisons’ version of father-and-son bonding over baseball, a literary staple for decades. Incidentally, we learn that Walker will be attending several baseball showcases this summer where college coaches can see him. Dave Beccaria take note! After all, another Haverfordian would not be a novelty in the Harrison family which also includes brother Dana Harrison ’85, middle school head at Landon School in Bethesda, MD, following in the footsteps of late dad Earl Harrison ’54, long-time head of Westtown and Sidwell Friends schools.

Here’s the story complete with photo of Colin sporting son’s baseball team cap while working on his map collection:   Eggs, Bacon and a Baseball Cap

An earlier post in this space noted the highly-favorable review in the weekday NY Times of the new book by David Wessel ’75 about Ben Bernanke and the whole economic meltdown of the last two years. Thus we won’t go into any more details about another Times rave about the book, a full-pager in the Times Book Review of August 9 by Paul Barrett (p. 10).

We’ll just quote Barrett’s opening paragraph which should whet your appetite to read the whole review and Wessell’s book In Fed We Trust:

“Forget Stephen King. For readers determined to decipher the baffling collapse of Wall Street, David Wessell’s account of what has transpired behind closed doors in Washington over the past couple of years provides a tale that’s nothing short of hair-raising.”

Plus you get to see what Federal Reserve Bank chair Bernanke might look like on a dollar bill!

Here’s the link to the review: While Regulators Slept

Greg Kannerstein ’63

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