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April 18, 2013
Doretta Royer 315 464-4833

Upstate to host global health research forum on dengue April 26

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Biomedical researchers from across the country will convene on the Upstate Medical University campus April 26 for a global health research forum on dengue, a debilitating mosquito-borne viral disease that is a leading cause of illness and death in the tropics and subtropics, and whose presence has been reported in the United States and Western Europe.

The forum will run from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in 2231 Weiskotten Hall, 766 Irving Ave., Syracuse. It is sponsored by Upstate’s Center for Global Health & Translational Science. For speaker information, go to: http://www.upstate.edu/cghats/events.php

The World Health Organization has estimated there are about 50 million to 100 million dengue virus infections each year. Often called “break-bone fever,” its symptoms include fever and severe muscle, bone and joint pain. It is caused by any one of four related viruses transmitted by a species of mosquitoes that serve as vectors (carriers and transmitters) for the dengue virus. These mosquitoes are found all over the world including the United States. The mosquitoes are necessary for the transmission of the dengue virus as the virus cannot be spread directly from person-to-person.

“Dengue has become a global, public health concern,” said Mark E. Polhemus, M.D., associate professor of medicine and medical director of Upstate’s Center for Global Health & Translational Science.

Polhemus adds that, to date, there are no vaccines to prevent infection with dengue virus. He and his colleagues are currently engaged in a clinical trial to determine if an investigational vaccine could prevent the four related dengue viruses.

“Our forum will bring together some of the nation’s top researchers in microbiology and immunology, viral diseases, geographic medicine, weather and climate change, and vector biology,” said Polhemus. “This forum should lead to a better understanding of dengue, its reach and impact, and how we can prevent it.”

The forum is sponsored by Upstate’s Center for Global Health & Translational Science, a consortium of the global health activities at Upstate Medical University. The center is engaged in laboratory, clinical and field research projects and provides opportunities for collaboration and partnerships with other resources and groups in Central New York, the United States and internationally.

Caption: Mark E. Polhemus, M.D, is the medical director of Upstate’s Center for Global Health & Translational Science.

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