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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Panel will break Ebola down in layman’s terms

In light of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, the Wiley Lecture Series is hosting two scientists on the Texas Task Force on Infectious Disease Preparedness created by former Gov. Rick Perry to provide further insight into the Ebola virus.
Brett Giroir, CEO of the Texas A&M Health Science Center, and Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, will lead the lecture Wednesday.
Haley Mathews, Wiley symposium coordinator and political science senior, said the organization hosts discussions that move past surface level information.
“At Wiley, we try to take stuff in the news and delve deeper into the issue, past the surface coverage the media brings to it,” Mathews said. “Especially with Ebola, we were looking to have a program that cuts through the sensationalism that everyone is scared they’re going to get Ebola.”
Mathews said Giroir will talk about the Texas Task Force on Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response, and Ebola in layman’s terms.
“He was the head of the Task Force that Gov. Perry put together and he is going to talk about what they did and how they were successful in getting Ebola out of Texas,” Mathews said.
Giroir said the outbreak of the Ebola virus in Texas last semester emphasized a lesson people need to learn.
“An epidemic anywhere will soon be a threat everywhere,” Giroir said.
To combat the current threat, Texas A&M researchers are ready to develop a ZMapp vaccine for Ebola. Giroir said this preparedness puts the university on the front lines of preparing the United States for Ebola and other future threats.
“The battle between humans and microbes has defined the history of our species,” Giroir said. “Pandemic influenza and Ebola are just the latest examples of challenges we must face — but now we are armed in the fight with modern science and technology.”
Work done by Hotez, the other speaker, stresses awareness of both the Ebola virus and a number of additional neglected tropical diseases, such as schistosomiasis, malaria and hookworm.
“It’s going to be a pretty varied conversation and they’re going to hit on a wide spectrum of Ebola-related issues, but also on the nature of epidemics in general,” Mathews said.
As one of the foremost experts on tropical diseases, Hotez will discuss his research and the nature of how epidemics come to be, Mathews said.
Mathews said it is important for students to continue to educate themselves on the virus, even though it is not as frequently reported on mainstream news sites.
“Even though its not on CNN and Fox all the time anymore, it is still happening in West Africa,” Mathews said. “Epidemics come and go, and this likely won’t be the last one.”
The lecture will be at 7 p.m. Wednesday in MSC 1400. The event is free and open to the public.

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