Zika Experts

Researchers at UNC School of Medicine and UNC Hospitals are leading the charge in Zika research with more than 10 groups currently studying Zika – its transmission, its epidemiology and its associated neurological and birth defects, including microcephaly.

In February, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Zika an international public health emergency. Since that time, Zika has been identified in 62 countries and territories, including the United States. While most Zika cases worldwide have been transmitted by mosquitoes, no U.S. case has been attributed to mosquito transmission, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

To date, all U.S. cases involve people who contracted Zika outside the United States, or the virus was transmitted sexually or from mother to infant. An estimated 75 percent of people who have contracted Zika are asymptomatic, and no lab test has been developed yet. UNC School of Medicine has more than 10 groups of researchers who are dedicated to researching Zika, and, ultimately, working to develop a lab test and a vaccine.

A group of UNC researchers are dedicated to studying the neurological effects in adults, as well as associated birth defects, including microcephaly – a rare neurological condition in which an infant is born with a much smaller head, which is due to abnormal brain development.

Media who wish to speak to a Zika expert should contact Caroline Curran at caroline.curran@unchealth.unc.edu or (984) 974-1146, or call the newsroom at (984) 974-1140. Leave a voicemail with your request and your deadline and a member of the news team will be paged.