Local Research Teams Win Funding to Combat Zika Virus

Four research teams from Johns Hopkins University will get a share of $15 million in funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to put toward Zika research. The researchers were awarded grants from the USAID’s Combating Zika and Future Threats Grand Challenge, the agency announced Wednesday.

From The Baltimore Sun,

The agency awarded 21 grants for what it characterized as “potentially game-changing solutions to mitigate the spread and impact of the Zika virus.” The USAID did not provide a breakdown of how the money would be distributed.

Four teams of Hopkins researchers will share in the money, including three from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and one from Johns Hopkins University where researchers are “pursuing an idea that originated at a recent Zika hackathon,” according to the university. The funding is going to research with the potential to prevent and detect Zika and help respond to other infectious disease outbreaks.

The USAID received nearly 900 submissions from around the world and selected recipients with groundbreaking ideas on addressing the Zika outbreak.

There have been 54 confirmed Zika cases in Maryland. So far there’s no evidence of local transmission of the illness in the state.

While Zika is a mild infection for most people, the virus can cause microcephaly, a disorder which stunts the growth of the heads and brains of fetuses and causes paralysis in some people. The virus is spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito and through sexual contact.

Read the full article for more information.

Get the full facts about the Zika virus, state and county government prevention efforts, and how geographic information system (GIS) mapping technology can help track and minimize Zika and other contagion outbreaks at the 2016 MACo Summer Conference.

Here are more details:

Outbreak! Responding to the Zika Threat


While the Zika virus has made international news headlines over the last year, few people truly understand what the virus is and the role county governments play in preventing its spread. For example, mosquito control is an important local responsibility that can significantly reduce the spread of Zika. If an outbreak does occur, counties can use Geographic Information System (GIS) and related technology to monitor and track the virus. Panelists will provide an overview of the Zika virus, including its symptoms, treatment, and transmission; county actions and responsibilities to combat Zika; and the use of GIS technology to track and manage identified cases.


  • Leana Wen, MD MSc, Commissioner of Health, Baltimore City
  • Brian Prendergast, Mosquito Control Program Manager, Maryland Department of Agriculture
  • Scott Shalley, Executive Director, Florida Association of Counties
  • Michael Scott, PhD, Professor, Department of Geography and Geosciences, Henson School of Science and Technology, Salisbury University

Moderator: The Honorable Joseline Peña-Melnyk, Maryland House of Delegates (invited)

Date & Time: Thursday, August 18, 2016; 2:30 pm – 3:30 pm

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference: