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Vanderbilt Virologist to Represent U.S. in Global Task Force to Detect and ID Infections

Vanderbilt Vaccine Center will join the Global Virus Network's Chikungunya Task Force, a global collaboration to address a mosquito-spread virus that has reached the Caribbean and South America.

The Chikungunya virus, which causes severe fever and pain, has remained primarily in Africa, the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia, but has spread to the Caribbean with the first known cases occurring in October 2013. It is estimated that there have been approximately 15,000 cases in the Caribbean since that time.

The task force is composed of 16 virologists representing nine countries. Dr. James Crowe, director of the Vanderbilt Vaccine Center, is representing the United States. The group's efforts will focus on issues related to rapid identification of infections, improved treatment options and development of an effective vaccine.

"By being part of this new global collaboration, we will have the opportunity to exchange information that will help in developing not only an effective response to Chikungunya virus but likely a better understanding of how to respond to other viruses that threaten the U.S.," Crowe said.

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