Public Invited to Zika Virus Symposium at UC Davis

Magnified closeup of a mosquito piercing a person's skin
The Aedes aegypti mosquito can transmit Zika virus and related viruses when it pierces a person's skin to feed on blood. (Courtesy CDC)

Quick Summary

  • Program features Brazilian experts tackling Zika at its epicenter
  • Advice for protecting against Zika will be offered
  • Symposium is free and open to the public

The University of California, Davis, invites the public to a Zika virus symposium featuring university experts and others from Brazil, the epicenter of the outbreak.

Admission is free to the Zika Public Awareness Symposium, organized by UC Davis chemical ecologist Walter Leal and a group of biochemistry students. It will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, May 26, in Giedt Hall. The program includes specialists in medical entomology, dermatology, and obstetrics and gynecology.

“It is very important that students and the public at large learn how to prevent a possible Zika epidemic, as this is the first virus known to be transmitted both sexually and by mosquitoes,” said Leal, a professor in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology.

“We thought that we did not have the vector (the yellow mosquito) here, but now our research in collaboration with Brazilian scientists indicates that our local mosquitoes (Culex) are also competent vectors,” Leal said. “And, more and more, we hear cases of travelers returning home infected with Zika virus.”

Speakers will discuss the science and symptoms of Zika, and explain how members of the public can best protect themselves against the disease.

Infographic: How Diseases Spread

The visiting Brazilians, who are dealing with patients and disease-transmitting mosquitoes at home, are Regina Coeli Ramos, a pediatric infectologist and professor, University of Pernambuco, speaking on “Congenital Zika Syndrome”; and Professor Constância F.J. Ayres, Department of Entomology, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz-Pernambuco, speaking on “Zika Virus: Looking into Mosquitoes’ Vectorial Capacity.”

Leal will open the symposium with an overview of the Zika epidemic and speak on how to repel the mosquitoes that can transmit the virus.  Other presentations and speakers:

  • “Zika Virus and Me” — Professor Brian Foy, Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology, Colorado State University
  • “DEET vs. Zika — I Would Go with the Former” — Emanual Maverakis, associate professor, Department of Dermatology, UC Davis School of Medicine
  • “Keeping Mosquitoes at Bay, Not in Your Back Yard” — Paula Macedo, laboratory director, Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District 
  • “Friends Don’t Let Friends Get Zika” — Cheryl Walker, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, UC Davis School of Medicine

Giedt Hall is a one-story lecture hall located on the west side of Bioletti Lane, one block south of Hutchison Drive. The nearest public parking is in the Pavilion Parking Structure on the northeast corner of Hutchison Drive and Dairy Road.

Media Resources

Pat Bailey, News and Media Relations, 530-219-9640,

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