Claire Panosian Dunavan,
MD, FIDSA, DTM&H (London)
UCLA School of Medicine
Division of Infectious Diseases
10833 Le Conte Ave, CHS 37-121
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1688

Division office: 310-825-7225
Voicemail: 310-794-6053
Facsimile: 310-825-3632

Dirty Cookstoves Pose Risk For Childhood Pneumonia And Death

Daily News, November 2011

Tanzania, November 2002. I have just attended Africa’s largest-ever malaria conference. Now my TV professional husband is capturing stories of real-life sufferers. Escorted by a tall, Masai herdsman with handsome features, we enter a home built of grass and cow dung. Inside, the air is dark and dense with the smell of animals, smoke and roasted meat. The man’s wife, …

Babies Born Infected With CMV – What Are Their Chances?

Daily News, August 2011

“At 18 months, she’s perfect!” my MD friend exclaimed. “So many times in my career, I’ve seen it go the other way.” We were talking about one of her favorite patients: a tiny tot infected with cytomegalovirus while still in her mother’s womb. The name may be new, but the scourge is common. In fact, CMV is the U.S.’s leading …

Rats And Mice, Oh My

Daily News, August 2011

The 2 a.m. call got my blood running. After hearing my pager’s irksome bleep, I groped for the phone and was soon talking to an ER resident. “The patient says she woke with a rat on her face. But wait, there’s more. The bugger bit her lip.” “Egad,” was all I could say. “Was she passed out?” “Yeah, probably,” came …

Familial Mediterranean Fever: Rare Genetic Disease Is Often Misdiagnosed

Los Angeles Times, December 2009

One look at Ani’s swollen ankles and we knew she was in trouble. For several years, the petite young mother had been coming to UCLA’s FMF Clinic with periodic fevers along with excruciating pain in her chest and abdomen. Now — as a urine dipstick test confirmed — her disease was also attacking her kidneys. The 4+ reading for urine …

A Tropical Vacation Turns Painful When An Unsuspecting Tourist Catches Something Horrible

Discover, May 2009

Ronnie Martin, the hardworking creator of a popular TV sitcom, loved her tropical getaways. By all rights, her seventh visit to Bora-Bora should have been a breeze. Lucky seven, right? Then came her unlucky visit to the Rainbow Reef bar. Along with her afternoon Bloody Mary, she sampled a raw fish ceviche. Her husband Tom did not. It was a …

A Patient’s Ancestry Makes Him Vulnerable To A Dustborne Infectious Disease

Discover, February 2009

After 30 years in the doctor trenches, every so often I think about patients I desperately wanted to save—and didn’t. At the top of my list is Arthur Lewis. A quiet, well-mannered teenager, Lewis developed a fungal infection that attacked multiple organs. Three years and many treatments later, the fungus claimed his life. Most infectious diseases are color-blind; their outcome …

A Past Infection Haunts A Woman’s Health

Discover, June 2008

Sela Miller was perplexed—and so was I. She had just emerged from our clinic restroom, specimen in hand. But her urine was far from the bright yellow most people produce. “So this is what it looks like,” she said, staring at the milky sample. “For weeks I thought something was wrong, but I couldn’t tell for sure.” Then Sela, a …

Tale Of A Dog, A Parasite And Two Women

Los Angeles Times, January 2008

This is the story of a dog-ophobe, a dog-ophile and the parasite that brought them together. The dog-ophobe (for want of a better word) is a patient. The dog-ophile is her doctor — me. My story is simple. At the end of the day, I look forward to two spaniels at home more than I do comfort food. Their wags …

A Task In The Yard Turns Lethal

Discover, August 2007

My husband and I live in a cottage in the foothills of Los Angeles, where nature feels very close. Beyond our front door, an ancient flowering vine overhangs a brick porch. Tangled up within the vine is a whole world in miniature: abandoned birds’ nests, dangling spiderwebs, powdery organic deposits. For years, we marveled at the vine’s ecosphere—but we never …

Travel Health Is More Than Vaccines

Los Angeles Times, February 2003

Last year I visited Tanzania, an African country where malaria is rampant. In parts of the country, villagers receive 300 infective mosquito bites per year — meaning, on average, they’re exposed to malaria almost nightly. Did I smear insect repellent all over my body and down malaria pills during my stay? You bet. Without these measures, the malaria stakes in …

Claire Panosian Dunavan, MD, DTM&H (London), 2008 President of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, received her education at Stanford University, Northwestern Medical School, Tufts-New England Medical Center, and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. First as Chief of Infectious Diseases at LA County-Olive View Medical Center, then as Director of Travel and Tropical Medicine at UCLA, she has been a UCLA professor, clinician, and teacher since 1984. She has also worked overseas in Haiti, Taiwan, the Philippines, Pakistan, Vietnam, Albania, Armenia, and Tanzania, among other countries.

Dunavan’s second career as a print and broadcast journalist includes 6 years as a medical editor, reporter, and co-anchor for Lifetime Television. In 1997, her interview with a dying physician won an international “Freddie” Award. In 2000, with her husband Patrick Dunavan—an 8-time Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker —she produced a television program on hepatitis B which has reached 300 million international viewers. In recent years, she has written regularly for national newspapers and magazines. She currently writes a weekly column called “The Infection Files” which runs in California newspapers. Her journalism spans issues in infectious diseases and public health affecting everyone on the planet to global health policy and economics.

© 2010 Claire Panosian Dunavan