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K-State Today

March 29, 2021

Natalia Cernicchiaro to present Entomology Seminar March 30

Submitted by Tania Kim

Natalia Cernicchiaro will present the next Entomology Seminar from 4-5 p.m. Tuesday, March 30, via Zoom. The title of her talk is "Use of Epidemiological Approaches to Investigate the Risk of Emergence of the Japanese Encephalitis Virus in the USA".

Cernicchiaro is an associate professor of epidemiology in the diagnostic medicine and pathobiology department and associate director for research, Center for Outcomes Research and Epidemiology, College of Veterinary Medicine. Her research focus is on veterinary epidemiology, food safety, zoonoses and production medicine and her research interests include the application of epidemiological concepts and techniques.

Talk abstract: Japanese encephalitis, or JE, is a vector-borne disease transmitted by mosquitoes infected with the Japanese encephalitis virus, or JEV, that occurs in Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific. Over 30 mosquito species have been recognized as JEV-competent, mainly from the Culex genus. Competent host species include pigs, the most important JEV amplifying hosts, and ardeid birds. Vectors and hosts interact in complex and dynamic transmission patterns that are either pig- (domestic cycle) or bird-associated (wild cycle). In humans, considered dead-end hosts, JEV causes a debilitating, neurological disease that mainly affects children and immunocompromised individuals. JE has no cure, thus, efforts are put forth towards prevention and control by reducing exposure to potentially infected mosquitoes, or vaccination. The United States represents a region favorable for potential entry and spread of the virus, having both JEV-competent vectors and hosts, as well as no active JEV surveillance programs currently in place. This presentation will examine findings from recent studies from our group regarding the application of epidemiological methods to evaluate vector and host competence for JEV and to quantify the risk of introduction of JEV in the continental United States.

For more information about the Entomology Seminar Series, visit the website.


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