Preventing the spread of infectious diseases
Published in the Spring 2012 Carolina Public Health Magazine
By Whitney L.J. Howell
Malaria causes almost a million deaths per year. Around 30 percent of adults in the Democratic Republic of the Congo are infected with malaria, according to epidemiology professor Dr. Steve Meshnick. Meshnick has worked closely with UNC geography professor Dr. Michael Emch to map the disease and identify factors responsible for its geographic spread. Read more about Meshnick’s work at www.sph.unc.edu/cph/tropical_disease.
Airborne viruses are also dangerous. A National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded team led by epidemiology professor Dr. Ralph Baric investigates why SARS infection is more lethal among individuals over age 50. Using a mouse model, the team tests how new vaccine platforms induce robust protective immunity in older adults. Furthering their work, Baric and a team from UNC and Vanderbilt University have reconstructed synthetically the bat variant of the SARS coronavirus that caused the SARS epidemic of 2003. “By reconstructing the synthetic bat SARS virus, we have a model that will allow us to design better vaccines and drugs that will treat any strain of this virus that infects humans,” Baric says.
Africa’s HIV statistics fueled Dr. Frieda Behets’ interest in reducing mother-to-child transmission of the virus.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the main cause of cervical cancer, which remains the leading cause of cancer death among women in many countries in Africa. HIV-positive women are at a notably higher risk, says Dr. Jennifer S. Smith. Using PEPFAR* funding, her team works in Kenya and South Africa to increase cervical cancer screenings, particularly among HIV-positive and higher-risk women. Smith and Dr. Noel Brewer are leading programs to eradicate cervical cancer in North Carolina and in the U.S., too.
June 6, 2012 - Posted by wljhowell | Education, Healthcare, Profiles | Audrey Pettifor, cash advances to keep girls in school to prevent HIV infection, Democratic Republic of Congo and malaria, Frieda Behets, HIV-positive women at great risk for HPV infection, HIV-positive women in Congo less likely to seek prenatal care, identifying factors responsible for spread of malaria, international guidelines for HIV programs for gay men transgendered individuals sex works intravenous drug users, Jennifer S. Smith, loans to prevent HIV infection in Tanzania, Michael Emch, microfinance interventions in Dar es Salaam, mother-to-child HIV transmission, Noel Brewer, nurse continuity to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission, PEPFAR funding for HPV research in Kenya and South Africa, preventing HIV infection in South African girls, preventing mother-to-child HIV transmission, preventing mother-to-child HIV transmission in the Democratic Republic of Congo, preventing spread of HPV, preventing spread of human papillomavirus, preventing spread of malaria, Ralph Baric, SARS coronavirus, SARS infection more dangerous in people over 50, Sharon Weir, Steve Meshnick, Suzanna Maman, synthetic reproductions of SARS, training HIV-positive mothers to be lay counselors, UNC Carolina Population Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Gillings School of Public Health preventing infectious disease, USAID MEASURE Evaluation project, using bat SARS virus to create vaccine
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Who am I?
I’m a seasoned reporter, writer, freelancer and public relations specialist with a master’s degree in international print journalism from The American University in Washington, D.C. I launched my journalism career as a stringer for UPI on Sept. 11, 2001, on Capitol Hill. That day led to a two-year stint as a daily political reporter in Montgomery County, Md. As a staff writer for the Association of American Medical Colleges, a public relations specialist for the Duke University Medical Center and the public relations director for the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Nursing, I’ve earned in-depth experience in covering health care, including academic medicine, health care reform, women’s health, pediatrics, radiology, and Medicare.
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