Scientists working on the front lines of the Zika epidemic are set to take part in a free Public Awareness Symposium at UC Davis Thursday, May 26th from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Giedt Hall.
UC Davis Biology Professor Walter Leal is one of the symposium's organizers. He's been working with researchers in his native Brazil.
"I'm actually from the area where the Zika pandemic is going on right now," says Leal, who is from Recife, in northeastern Brazil.
Symposium topics will include ways to prevent an epidemic in the Sacramento area.
"The major thing that we have to do is, for people who travel, and I travel overseas a lot for my work, so when we go there, use the repellent all the time," says Leal.
He says people also need to use repellent when returning home. That's because research shows Sacramento area mosquitoes may be able to carry the Zika virus. So if a person infected overseas returns home and is bit by a local mosquito, that bug could transmit the virus to other people.
"It's getting closer to summer," says Leal. "Mosquito season is coming. So the people need to know the facts about this dangerous disease."
The money U.S. health agencies need to prepare for and fight against Zika has been tied up in Congress.