University of South Florida

USF Health experts help local media report on Zika

As the world hears news about the spread of the Zika virus and its link to other conditions, particularly the debilitating birth defect microcephaly, local media turn to USF Health — the region’s only academic medical center – for expert comment. USF Health faculty and researchers are stepping up to provide local reporters with on-camera interviews and in-print quotes, as well as national columns. Here is a round-up of our experts in the  news. Check back, as we continue to update this list.

Media hits:

Charles J. Lockwood, MD, MHCM, senior vice president of USF Health and dean, USF Health Morsani College of Medicine.

Contemporary OB/GYN


Tips for prevention:
There are many ways we all can help prevent the spread of diseases carried by mosquitoes, including Zika. Donna J. Petersen, ScD, MHS, CPH, senior associate vice president for USF Health and dean of the USF College of Public Health, offers the following tips for reducing populations of mosquitoes, with thanks to Hillsborough County.
Keep in mind that, at this time, there are no cases of locally acquired Zika reported in Florida, and we have no reason to believe our local mosquito population is carrying the virus, Dr. Petersen said. The cases reported in Florida, including Hillsborough County, are all related to international travel.
“While local mosquito control agencies are spraying insecticides to kill mosquitoes in many areas, they always need the public’s help to remove breeding habitats in residential areas,” she said.
Here’s how you can help:
• Drain: Remove all standing water from garbage cans, gutters, pool covers, coolers, toys, flower pots, or any other containers where water has collected.
• Discard: Remove items that may hold water, such as old tires, drums, bottles, cans, pots and pans, broken appliances.
• Empty and Clean: Regularly change birdbaths and pets’ water bowls at least once a week.
• Protect: Cover boats and vehicles from rain with tarps to prevent water from accumulating.
• Maintain: Keep the pool chemistry of swimming pools in balance, empty plastic swimming pools when not in use, and repair broken screens on windows, doors, porches, and patios.
• Clothing: Remember to cover up: always wear socks and shoes, long pants, and long-sleeved shirts.
• Repellent: Apply mosquito repellent to bare skin and clothing. Always use repellents according to the label.
• Travelers returning from international locations are cautioned to wear mosquito repellent for two weeks after they return home.


Douglas Holt, MD, FACP, director of the Hillsborough County Health Department, and director of the Division of Infectious Disease and International Medicine, USF Health Morsani College of  Medicine.

Tribune editorial, citing Douglas Holt


Beata Casanas, DO, FACP, associate professor of infectious disease, USF Health Morsani College of Medicine, and medical director, Hillsborough County Tuberculosis Clinic.

10 News

ABC Action News

Tampa Bay Times Tribune

Bay News 9

Tampa Bay Times


Stephanie Romero, MD, assistant professor of maternal fetal medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, USF Health Morsani College of Medicine.

ABC Action News

WFLA radio

MedPage Today


Dr. Robert Novak, PhD, professor in the Department of Global Health, USF College of Public Health.

ABC Action News

WFLA Newschannel 8


Jay Wolfson, DrPH, JD, associate vice president for Health Law, Policy, Safety and the senior associate dean of the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine, and Distinguished Service Professor of Public Health, Medicine and Pharmacy

Tampa Bay Times

mosquito Aedes aegypti 600x400

Photo credit: The photo is of Aedes aegypti showing the “White Lyre” on the thorax, which is the distinct identifying mark for this mosquito. The photo is courtesy of Dr. Robert Novak, professor of Global Health in the USF College of Public Health.


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