UMass Amherst students send Zika virus research to assist CDC - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

UMass Amherst students send Zika virus research to assist CDC

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(Image Courtesy: MGN Online) (Image Courtesy: MGN Online)

UMass students contributed research studies on the many unanswered questions about the Zika virus epidemic to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Their work could actually inform policy makers people of the front lines of this epidemic,” said physics lecturer Shubha Tewari.

Using data collected by lead scientists, students tackled various aspects of the epidemic.  One group of students mapped out migration patterns of people in areas where the virus is known to be spreading.

“What we wanted to do is give policymakers information on the types of people that are leaving, and if so, do they have Zika or not,” said Akshay Delity, a Freshman. “With the number of people leaving -- the number of Zika cases is going to increase. And that’s scary,” he said.

Another group worked to pinpoint places that have the highest rates of infection.

“It does not solve Zika in and of itself, but it does tell us where we should give our attention,” said Eric Wuesthoff, a freshman.

“The important thing is their work actually gets pushed out of the room. So they get to share with the people who are actively modeling Zika at the CDC,” said Justin Fermann, chemistry professor.

Massachusetts is one of more than a dozen states dealing with Zika virus cases. There are seven confirmed cases in the state.

Copyright 2016 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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