LSU Researchers Available to Speak on Zika Virus

BATON ROUGE – Zika is a mosquito-borne virus historically circulating in parts of Africa and in Malaysia, and the Pacific region. With the virus now emerged in the Western Hemisphere, LSU has a number of researchers who are studying the virus directly or knowledgeable of the virus and its effects.


Rebecca Christofferson, assistant professor in pathobiological sciences, with the Vector-borne Disease Laboratories at the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine, has expertise in determining factors that drive the transmission of arboviruses, including Zika, dengue and chikungunya. This lab uses a combination of laboratory experimentation and mathematical modeling to ask questions regarding these transmission trajectories.
Contact:; 225-578-4975

Kristen Healy, LSU AgCenter medical entomologist, is working with mosquito control efforts in Louisiana to minimize the effects Zika.
Contact:; 225-578-7386  

Alma Roy, associate director of the Louisiana Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, or LADDL, which is the laboratory in Louisiana that performs all the testing for the State Arbovirus Surveillance testing on sentinels. Sentinels consist of mosquito pools, chickens and wild birds. Sentinels are tested as an indicator of virus activity. All reports are sent to the mosquito control districts, and to the Department of Health and Hospitals and CDC.  LADDL tests approximately 20,000 mosquito pools, wild birds, sentinel chickens and horses for the mosquito borne disease that can potential affect humans and animals. LADDL also tests for West Nile virus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus, St. Louis encephalitis virus, Chikungunya virus and is now ready to test for ZIKA virus. Test performed are PCR and IgM serological assays.
Contact:; 225-578-9690


LSU Health New Orleans:

Dr. James Diaz, program director, environmental/occupational health sciences MPH, and professor of anesthesiology at LSU Health New Orleans Schools of Public Health and Medicine, who was invited by the Institute of Medicine to participate in a meeting in Washington, D.C., earlier this year to identify the research priorities related to the emergence of the Zika Virus.
Contact: Leslie Capo at 504-568-4806 or to set up interviews

Dr. John England, professor and chair of neurology at LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine, chairs the World Federation of Neurology’s Zika Work Group. He has expertise in neurological complications associated with Zika. 
Contact: Leslie Capo at 504-568-4806 or to set up interviews

Dr. Fred Lopez, professor of medicine at LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine, has expertise on the clinical aspects of Zika infection.
Contact: Leslie Capo at 504-568-4806 or to set up interviews

Dr. Robert Maupin Jr., professor of obstetrics and gynecology in the section of maternal-fetal medicine at LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine, has expertise on pregnancy-related Zika issues.
Contact: Leslie Capo at 504-568-4806 or to set up interviews


LSU Health Shreveport:

Michelle Arnold, assistant professor of virology and immunology at LSU Health Shreveport, is a virology expert studying rotavirus-host interactions, innate immune signaling pathways, host antiviral response, and the ubiquitin-conjugation system.
Contact: Sally Croom at 318-675-8769 or to set up interviews

Dr. John Vanchiere, professor of pediatrics and chief of pediatric infectious disease at LSU Health Shreveport, studies natural history and pathogenesis of human polyomaviruses. His laboratory seeks to understand the host and viral factors that regulate BK polyomavirus persistence, reactivation, and disease in immunocompetent and immune-compromised patients.
Contact: Sally Croom at 318-675-8769 or to set up interviews


More Information:

The CDC has issued a bulletin between Zika and the increase in microcephaly in Brazil
Q&A: The Zika Virus
Video: LSU Research Works - Zika Virus


In the News:

Zika Still a Threat During Winter Months
Dec. 13, 2016

Florida IDs new Miami neighborhood as Zika zone
Cosumnes Connection
Oct. 15, 2016

LSU, Tulane scientists part of worldwide effort to understand, fight spread of Zika
The Advocate
Sept. 11, 2016

LSU experts say West Nile, not Zika, is Louisiana’s concern
The Daily Reveille
Sept. 6, 2016

Our Views: We are all in the front line in mosquito war
The Advocate
Sept. 2, 2016 

LSU professor receives $1.2M grant to research Zika virus
Business Report
Aug. 31, 2016

Zika Tied to Sensory Polyneuropathy in Infected Male
Aug. 31, 2016

Acute Zika Infection Can Damage Nerves: Study
Aug. 27, 2016

Scientists report new neurological complication from Zika virus infection
News Medical
Aug. 26, 2016

Baton Rouge flooding renews West Nile fears as Zika flusters Florida
The Washington Times
Aug. 23, 2016

Mosquitos that carry Zika already in New Orleans
Aug. 9, 2016

Zika plan in place at Shreveport hospital
Aug. 2, 2016

Does yard spraying help with Zika?
Aug. 2, 2016

Mosquito Control to post spray schedule on online map
American Press

Glynn County trapping mosquitos for Zika virus research
Action News Jax
July 6, 2016

Baton Rouge Salvation Army to distribute bug screens in fight against Zika, other mosquito-borne illnesses
The Advocate
June 29, 2016

LSU researchers helping mosquito control fight Zika
Talk 107.3
June 28, 2016

Zika Draws U.S. Researchers Into a Race for Understanding
Wall Street Journal
June 3, 2016

Zika Virus 2016 Latest News & Updates: Zika Virus Invading Europe? Athletes Plan To Skip Olympics Amid Zika Scare
Parent Herald
May 31, 2016

Zika virus risk higher from trips abroad
The Washington Times
May 29, 2016

Fact and fiction in combating mosquitos
Monroe News Star
May 15, 2016

Health Matters: The Zika Virus
Red River Radio
May 12, 2016

Separating fact from fiction in combating mosquitos
May 5, 2016

Precautions advised, but Zika poses no threat to US yet
Shreveport Times
March 3, 2016

Free Zika health forum today
March 3, 2016

Community Forum to be held on the Zika Virus in Shreveport
March 2, 2016

SciPort is Partnering with LSU Health to host a public forum concerning the Zika virus
Feb. 25, 2016

Should You Cancel Your Caribbean Trip? Zika Experts Weigh In
Feb. 3, 2016

Zika Virus Spreading, Impact on Travel
BR Proud
Feb. 2, 2016

Air conditioning, window screens and mosquito-control programs should help keep Zika virus outbreak from Louisiana
The Advocate
Jan. 28, 2016

Baton Rouge experts weigh in on Zika virus
Jan. 20, 2016 



Contact Ernie Ballard
LSU Media Relations