Science Pub PDX: Zika Virus


$5 suggested donation
Sci Pub Zika

Zika: The Origins and Transmission of a Virus

With Dan Streblow, PhD, Associate Scientist at the Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute and Research Assistant Professor at the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at Oregon Health & Science University, and Christopher M. Wirth, Program Manager for the Multnomah County Health Department's Vector Control and Enforcement Program

Doors Open @ 5PM | $5 Suggested Donation

Zika virus (ZIKV), a mosquito-borne flavivirus closely related to yellow fever and dengue viruses, is currently causing a large outbreak in the Americas. Recently, local spread occurred in Miami, Florida highlighting the ability of the virus to take hold in the United States. Historically, ZIKV was considered sporadic and causing relatively mild disease. However, current observations with this recent outbreak indicate ZIKV causes neurological sequelae in adults, such as Guillian-Barré Syndrome and devastating neurological birth defects such as microcephaly in the developing fetus. The possible association of ZIKV with microcephaly in newborns and other neurological disorders precipitated the World Health Organization (WHO) to declare the outbreak of microcephaly-associated ZIKV a Public Health Emergency of International concern.


In this talk, virologist Dr. Streblow will discuss the origins of ZIKV, routes of transmission, the recent worsening of pathogenesis in adults and neonates as well as current efforts aimed at eradicating the virus. For a local perspective, Christopher Wirth will discuss mosquito control in Multnomah County and what species of mosquito are of concern related to Zika and other diseases in our region.


Daniel Streblow, Ph.D. is a virologist specializing in viral pathogenesis. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he trained in the field of HIV pathogenesis. His lab currently focuses on the study of viral pathogenesis and disease by defining host:virus relationships at the whole organism level to the cellular/molecular level. The lab works on a number of different viruses including cytomegalovirus, Chikungunya virus, and Zika virus.


Christopher M. Wirth is the Program Manager for the Multnomah County Health Department's Vector Control and Enforcement program, which serves to protect the public from vector-borne disease. Vector Control protects health and enhances livability through control of the rat and mosquito populations, and serves as a resource for addressing public health vector problems. Programs include Rodent Control, Mosquito Control and Code Enforcement, which enforces some specific county and city municipal codes. Vector control is focused on maintaining mosquito populations at levels that are safe and comfortable for the residents of Multnomah County. Christopher Wirth's position is involved with numerous regulations and health concerns and involves supervision of the Department’s response to disease outbreaks, natural disaster and other public health vector and nuisance related hazards. Chris has a Biology degree from University of Colorado, Boulder.