FIU Professors Inform the Public Concerning Their Fight with Zika

Dr. Aileen Marty, professor of Infectious Diseases in the Department of Humanities, Health, and Society at FIU, and the Florida Department of Health survey the Wynwood area

Back in July, South Florida became the first State in the country to report the transmitted Zika case. During this time, all eyes were on our area in which they found a couple of FIU experts with the necessary knowledge and drive to help the community get through this outbreak.

A world-renowned expert in infectious diseases, Dr. Aileen M. Marty, from the College of Herbert Wertheim, has been taking charge at the utmost of her ability as the member of the State of Florida Medical Reserve Corps. With over 30 years experience of practice, she spent 25 as a Navy doctor, traveled the planet while treating diseases such as leprosy, dengue, malaria and Ebola.

Next on the list is another virus she can tag on to her porfolio – Zika. Marty has had the privilege of taking charge in leading teams of Florida Department of Health officials, members of the Medical Reserve Corps and volunteer medical students, touring the surrounding neighborhood of Wynwood in the Miami area for the Zika virus. Because of this work, they were able to determine that there was, in fact, mosquito transmission in the local area.

“We all know the saying ‘a stitch in time saves nine’ – the idea that you act and address something before it becomes a problem – that’s what the Florida Department of Health has done. It has been on the forefront of understanding and tackling Zika,” said Marty.

FIU’s biologist Matthew DeGennaro actually studies the most deadliest mosquitoes known to carry this Zika disease. They also are known to transmit other mosquito-borne illnesses that FIU professors help fight Zikaare responsible for claiming the lives of 725,000 people worldwide each year. Out of all the scientists in the world, he was the first to create a mutant mosquito, a deed that had made it possible for him to study mosquito behavior. His understanding of this work will help him better comprehend why mosquitoes prefer humans, helping create a more improved repellant. Until then, DeGennaro, who oversees the research as part of the Biomolecular Sciences Institute in the College of Arts, Sciences & Education, stresses the value in using DEET, the most efficient repellant on the shelves today.

“DEET should be Miami’s new perfume,” said DeGennaro in a recent network TV interview.

Upon reporting the breakage of of this disease, local, national and international media have all directed their focus and attention towards FIU experts in helping explain Zika in order to minimize the fear in the area. These FIU experts have conducted over 100 interviews and affected more than 168 million people around the nation through media coverage worth more than $1 million.

We can achieve so much in this world when we direct our focus towards the greater good of mankind. As the FIU experts continue to dig in and work their magic, we are confident that only good can come out of it as they continue to make our area one that is Zika free. #Rewordit!

Lacayo, Jennifer (2016, August 9). “FIU professors help fight Zika, inform the public.” Retrieved from


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