Intro of event recap/article by Mitzi Baker of UCSF’s Zika Symposium:
“Alarmed by the rapid spread of the Zika virus across the Americas, experts gathered at UC San Francisco to explore the many issues raised by the epidemic and to share information with other researchers and health care providers.
With scientists around the world scrambling for information about what was until recently an obscure virus, UCSF Global Health Sciences and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals hosted the symposium, called “Preparedness for the Zika Virus: A Public Health Emergency,” on March 7 to help focus the research agenda. The symposium speakers addressed several topics around Zika, from how the virus may be crossing the placenta and infecting neural stem cells, to how the tragic emergence of apparently related birth defects could change attitudes toward contraception and abortion in Latin America.
“The impact of this is felt in areas around globe that are far less equipped than we are to handle such a devastating infection,” said UCSF Chancellor Sam Hawgood, MBBS, who is also chair of UCSF Health, in opening remarks. “In addition to thinking about our own local preparedness, it is imperative to think about what kind of contribution UCSF and the other institutions represented here can make to the larger global scale of this public health emergency.”