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Chapter 31 : The Legacy of Patricia Ann Webb: Broken Vials and Urgency

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Abstract:

Patricia Ann Webb (1925–2005) left a rich legacy of work undertaken during a time when arbovirus and hemorrhagic fever virus studies were coming of age. She participated in the discovery and characterization of some of the most consequential infectious diseases of today. She had a role in the classification of the arenaviruses, including Machupo and Lassa viruses. She identified, by immunofluorescence, that Ebola virus was a new pathogen in 1976. She demonstrated that AIDS was unlikely to be transmitted by mosquitos or bed bugs. Patricia was a part of a legendary group of physicians, veterinarians, epidemiologists, microbiologists, entomologists, and ecologists whose findings and stories have inspired new generations of scientists. How they elucidated disease transmission, treatment, and control serves as the best examples of studies on emerging zoonotic diseases. Those who signed up had to have a yen for adventure, and Patricia thrived in exotic places. Colleagues fondly remember her as smart, sharp-witted, demanding, tenacious, detail-oriented, and crusty, but all knew that she could be counted on for support when needed. Her professional credentials and personal notes attest to her endeavors and achievements. In this chapter, by May Chu, some of those achievements are recounted, interspersed with personal recollections to give insight into a demanding and distinguished public health career. One can only imagine what she would have to say about today’s situation as the world is recovering from the largest-ever Ebola virus epidemic and as arboviruses like Chikungunya and Zika viruses are spreading from their natural habitats.

Citation: Chu M. 2018. The Legacy of Patricia Ann Webb: Broken Vials and Urgency, p 283-294. In Whitaker R, Barton H (ed), Women in Microbiology. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555819545.ch31
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Figure 1

Patricia A. Webb at the CDC, 1976. Courtesy of Frederick A. Murphy.

Citation: Chu M. 2018. The Legacy of Patricia Ann Webb: Broken Vials and Urgency, p 283-294. In Whitaker R, Barton H (ed), Women in Microbiology. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555819545.ch31
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Figure 2

Ebola virus as it appears by electron micrograph, 1976. Courtesy of Frederick A. Murphy.

Citation: Chu M. 2018. The Legacy of Patricia Ann Webb: Broken Vials and Urgency, p 283-294. In Whitaker R, Barton H (ed), Women in Microbiology. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555819545.ch31
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Figure 3

Patricia A. Webb collecting samples in Sierra Leone, ca. 1978. Courtesy of Joseph B. McCormick.

Citation: Chu M. 2018. The Legacy of Patricia Ann Webb: Broken Vials and Urgency, p 283-294. In Whitaker R, Barton H (ed), Women in Microbiology. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555819545.ch31
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Image of Figure 4
Figure 4

Patricia A. Webb and Cricket in Rist Canyon, Colorado, ca. 1985. Courtesy of May C. Chu.

Citation: Chu M. 2018. The Legacy of Patricia Ann Webb: Broken Vials and Urgency, p 283-294. In Whitaker R, Barton H (ed), Women in Microbiology. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555819545.ch31
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Download as Powerpoint

References

/content/book/10.1128/9781555819545.chap31
1. Monath TP,, Johnson KM . 2005. In memoriam. Patricia Ann Webb (1925–2005). Arch Virol 150 : 1268 1270.
2. Cohen R,, O’Connor R,, Townsend TE,, Webb PA,, McKey RW . 1953. Western equine encephalomyelitis; clinical observations in infants and children. J Pediatr 43 : 26 34.
3. Douglas RG Jr,, Wiebenga NH,, Couch RB . 1965. Bolivian hemorrhagic fever probably transmitted by personal contact. Am J Epidemiol 82 : 85 91.
4. Johnson KM,, Kuns ML,, Mackenzie RB,, Webb PA,, Yunker CE . 1966. Isolation of Machupo virus from wild rodent Calomys callosus. Am J Trop Med Hyg 15 : 103 106.
5. Justines G,, Johnson KM . 1970. Observations on the laboratory breeding of the cricetine rodent Calomys callosus. Lab Anim Care 20 : 57 60.
6. Webb PA,, Johnson KM,, Mackenzie RB . 1969. The measurement of specific antibodies in Bolivian hemorrhagic fever by neutralization of virus plaques. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med 130 : 1013 1019.
7. Murphy FA,, Webb PA,, Johnson KM,, Whitfield SG . 1969. Morphological comparison of Machupo with lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus: basis for a new taxonomic group. J Virol 4 : 535 541.
8. Rowe WP,, Pugh WE,, Webb PA,, Peters CJ . 1970. Serological relationship of the Tacaribe complex of viruses to lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus. J Virol 5 : 289 292.
9. Rowe WP,, Murphy FA,, Bergold GH,, Casals J,, Hotchin J,, Johnson KM,, Lehmann-Grube F,, Mims CA,, Traub E,, Webb PA . 1970. Arenoviruses: proposed name for a newly defined virus group. J Virol 5 : 651 652.
10. Johnson KM,, Lange JV,, Webb PA,, Murphy FA . 1977. Isolation and partial characterisation of a new virus causing acute haemorrhagic fever in Zaire. Lancet i : 569 571.
11. Breman JG,, Johnson KM,, van der Groen G,, Robbins CB,, Szczeniowski MV,, Ruti K,, Webb PA,, Meier F,, Heymann DL, Ebola Virus Study Teams . 1999. A search for Ebola virus in animals in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Cameroon: ecologic, virologic, and serologic surveys, 1979–1980. J Infect Dis 179( Suppl 1) : S139 S147.
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13. Marí Saéz A,, Weiss S,, Nowak K,, Lapeyre V,, Zimmermann F,, Düx A,, Kühl HS,, Kaba M,, Regnaut S,, Merkel K,, Sachse A,, Thiesen U,, Villányi L,, Boesch C,, Dabrowski PW,, Radonić A,, Nitsche A,, Leendertz SA,, Petterson S,, Becker S,, Krähling V,, Couacy-Hymann E,, Akoua-Koffi C,, Weber N,, Schaade L,, Fahr J,, Borchert M,, Gogarten JF,, Calvignac-Spencer S,, Leendertz FH . 2015. Investigating the zoonotic origin of the West African Ebola epidemic. EMBO Mol Med 7 : 17 23.
14. Monath TP . 1973. Lassa fever. Trop Doct 3 : 155 161.
15. McCormick JB . 1996. Level 4: Virus Hunters of the CDC, p 32 39. Turner Publishing, Inc, Atlanta, GA.
16. Keenlyside RA,, McCormick JB,, Webb PA,, Smith E,, Elliott L,, Johnson KM . 1983. Case-control study of Mastomys natalensis and humans in Lassa virus-infected households in Sierra Leone. Am J Trop Med Hyg 32 : 829 837.
17. Webb PA,, McCormick JB,, King IJ,, Bosman I,, Johnson KM,, Elliott LH,, Kono GK,, O’Sullivan R . 1986. Lassa fever in children in Sierra Leone, West Africa. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg 80 : 577 582.
18. Helmick CG,, Webb PA,, Scribner CL,, Krebs JW,, McCormick JB . 1986. No evidence for increased risk of Lassa fever infection in hospital staff. Lancet ii : 1202 1205.
19. McCormick JB,, Webb PA,, Krebs JW,, Johnson KM,, Smith ES . 1987. A prospective study of the epidemiology and ecology of Lassa fever. J Infect Dis 155 : 437 444.
20. Vernon SD,, Webb PA . 1985. Recent vesicular stomatitis virus infection detected by immunoglobulin M antibody capture enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. J Clin Microbiol 22 : 582 586.
21. Walton TE,, Webb PA,, Kramer WL,, Smith GC,, Davis T,, Holbrook FR,, Moore CG,, Schiefer TJ,, Jones RH,, Janney GC,, Janney GC . 1987. Epizootic vesicular stomatitis in Colorado, 1982: epidemiologic and entomologic studies. Am J Trop Med Hyg 36 : 166 176.
22. Webb PA,, Monath TP,, Reif JS,, Smith GC,, Kemp GE,, Lazuick JS,, Walton TE . 1987. Epizootic vesicular stomatitis in Colorado, 1982: epidemiologic studies along the northern Colorado front range. Am J Trop Med Hyg 36 : 183 188.
23. Webb PA,, McLean RG,, Smith GC,, Ellenberger JH,, Francy DB,, Walton TE,, Monath TP . 1987. Epizootic vesicular stomatitis in Colorado, 1982: some observations on the possible role of wildlife populations in an enzootic maintenance cycle. J Wildl Dis 23 : 192 198.
24. Castro KG,, Lieb S,, Jaffe HW,, Narkunas JP,, Calisher CH,, Bush TJ,, Witte JJ . 1988. Transmission of HIV in Belle Glade, Florida: lessons for other communities in the United States. Science 239 : 193 197.
25. Webb PA,, Happ CM,, Maupin GO,, Johnson BJB,, Ou CY,, Monath TP . 1989. Potential for insect transmission of HIV: experimental exposure of Cimex hemipterus and Toxorhynchites amboinensis to human immunodeficiency virus. J Infect Dis 160 : 970 977.

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