Members of Congress expected to participate, media will also tour USF mosquito lab on Aug. 19
TAMPA, Fla. (Aug. 11, 2016) — Florida has become ground zero for the Zika virus – home of the first non-travel related cases of the mosquito-borne virus in the continental United States.
As health officials work to contain the transmission of Zika infection in a North Miami neighborhood, the University of South Florida is bringing together top researchers, elected and appointed government officials, and community leaders in the region’s tourism, transportation and healthcare industries to discuss options for addressing this rapidly evolving medical and public health threat.
USF Health will present “Zika at Our Doorstep: An International Public Health Conversation,” 9 – 11:15 a.m., Friday, Aug. 19, at the Patel Center for Global Sustainability, 11710 USF Maple Drive, on the USF campus in Tampa. A campus map is available here.
U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor and U.S. Rep. David Jolly are among the legislators who have already expressed intent to attend and participate in the discussion.
USF researchers are focused on finding solutions to the world’s most pressing issues, including the Zika virus. The university’s Zika-related experts cross many disciplines, including infectious diseases, high-risk pregnancy, pediatrics, public health, entomology and epidemiology.
During the event a panel of experts will cover various aspects of Zika, followed by a facilitated discussion with guests.
Interview opportunities and a brief tour of a USF mosquito laboratory will be available for the media on the day of the event. Research staff will explain how they use the lab to better understand the insect, find more effective treatments for devastating mosquito-borne disease or develop vaccines to prevent infections. Currently the lab does not contain Zika-carrying mosquitoes, but it is designed to begin studying the virus.
Speakers scheduled to appear include:
Charles J. Lockwood, MD, senior vice president for USF Health and dean of the Morsani College of Medicine, a leading authority on Zika with expertise in maternal-fetal medicine, and a trustee on the March of Dimes National Board, will present Zika: Pregnancy and Fetal Effects.
Douglas Holt, MD, director of Infectious Disease and International Medicine Division, USF Health Morsani College of Medicine: Zika: Threat and Response.
Thomas Unnasch, PhD, Distinguished University Health Professor, USF College of Public Health: Zika and Other Arboviruses: USF Research Findings.
Deborah Cragun, PhD, assistant professor of global health, USF College of Public Health: Zika Risk Communication: Meeting the Needs of Floridians.
With remarks by Juan Miguel Pascale, MD, PhD, of Gorgas Memorial Institute for Health Studies, Panama City, Panama: Zika: International Implications and Efforts.
Ed Funai, MD, USF System vice president and chief operating officer for USF Health, will moderate the conversation following the speaker presentations.
For members of the media unable to attend, the event will be streamed live on the following website: http://news.usf.edu/article/templates/?a=7456&z=226. The link will become active prior to the event on Aug. 19.
B-roll video of the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which can spread the Zika virus, is available for download here. These mosquitoes were grown in the USF College of Public Health laboratory of Dr. Robert Novak (seen in the video), who studies mosquito biology and behavior.
The University of South Florida is a high-impact, global research university dedicated to student success. USF is a Top 25 research university among public institutions nationwide in total research expenditures, according to the National Science Foundation. Serving over 48,000 students, the USF System has an annual budget of $1.6 billion and an annual economic impact of $4.4 billion. USF is a member of the American Athletic Conference.