Zika Virus and the Emerging Pathogens Institute

September 12, 2016 --

Zika Virus and the Emerging Pathogens Institute

In early 2016, Brazil shocked the world with its finding that the Zika virus had caused a sharp rise in the number of babies born with birth defects such as microcephaly.


Aedes aegypti mosquito -- the primary mosquito responsible for transmitting the Zika virus

Many Floridians were infected with the Zika virus while traveling abroad, and in July, Florida Department of Health officials confirmed that Florida mosquitoes are transmitting the virus, opening the possibility of contracting Zika without ever leaving the state. The Emerging Pathogens Institute has assembled the best minds in virology, genetic sequencing, and public health to produce superior research and recommendations to keep Floridians safe.


Dr. J. Glenn Morris, director of the Emerging Pathogens Institute

“We knew that the virus was present in Haiti in 2014,” said Glenn Morris, M.D., M.P.H., professor of medicine and director of the Emerging Pathogens Institute at the University of Florida. “By using the sophisticated culturing and sequencing capabilities that we have here at the Emerging Pathogens Institute, we were able to begin to fill in some of the unknown areas in the history of the Zika virus, leading us toward a better understanding of what caused this outbreak to suddenly occur at the magnitude that it did in Brazil.” While the institute has received funds to study Zika in the Caribbean, the federal government has not yet designated resources to support research on eradicating local Zika transmission in Florida.

We Need Your Help

Release of national and state funding for Zika research is critical. In the meantime – by donating to the Emerging Pathogens Institute, you can directly support the Institute’s efforts to combat the Zika virus within Florida.

Click Here to Make a Gift to EPI

For a general overview of the Zika virus, click on the link below to view EPI’s presentation to the Florida Congressional Delegation:
Zika Virus Explained

For more information, read Dr. Derek Cummings summary of Zika virus research, published last July in Science, titled "Assessing the global threat from Zika virus."

The article is also discussed on the EPI webpage:

Long-term threat posed by Zika virus remains unknown, review finds 

You may send a check payable to the University of Florida Foundation, Inc. – Emerging Pathogens Institute and mailed to:

Emerging Pathogens Institute
PO Box 100009
Gainesville, FL 32610