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Tara C. Smith
Works at Kent State University
Attended University of Michigan
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Tara C. Smith

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My first piece at Mental Floss: how some monster legends could be rooted in infections and other diseases. http://mentalfloss.com/article/64376/call-doctor-not-exorcist-monsters-were-actually-sick
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HII
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My research assistant, Dipendra, is from Nepal. His family back home, including his older parents with chronic health conditions, and young nieces and nephews, has been devastated by the recent earthquake. His wife's family has fared a bit better, but her sister was seriously injured (her parent's house, however, is still standing). If you have a few bucks to spare, I've set up a youcaring site for donations here: http://bit.ly/1DQ9b6B It would be greatly appreciated.
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Wrote up a piece at Politico on the proposed travel/visa ban for Ebola. TL;DR: not only will it not work, but it will further erode trust of America in the affected countries, making it more difficult to extinguish the epidemic in West Africa and therefore putting us at greater risk here. http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/10/travel-ban-visa-baneither-way-it-wont-work-112084.html#.VEfIKvl4pcQ
The biggest two words right now at the intersection of government and public health might be “travel ban.” But despite many politicians framing such a ban as a “common sense measure” to protect us from Ebola, a closer look at both the logistics and the history of such bans show that they are anything but. First, what are these...
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hurdles everywhere. 
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New post! Going back to re-read The Hot Zone in the light of the current outbreak--my thoughts as an infectious disease epidemiologist http://scienceblogs.com/aetiology/2014/10/21/the-hot-zone-and-the-mythos-of-ebola/ 
The Hot Zone was first released in 1994, the year I graduated high school. Like many readers, that book and Laurie Garrett’s The Coming Plague really sparked my interest in infectious diseases. In some sense, I have those books to thank (or blame?) for my career. But I’m still going to criticize it, because as…
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I wouldn't re-read The Hot Zone: in 1995 a participant in bionet.virology had this to say about it:
"Bricks of bad information and fear-mongering set up a highly-efficient, deadly cycle of hysteria replication in the populace. The public hemorrages, spilling hysteria to the next unwitting victim. Fear gushes from every media orifice. No one is safe from the hype." - Brian Hjelle. And:
"...and a whole new Ebola strain: "Ebola Preston", which attacks via print and visual media!!" Ed Regis, author of "Virus Ground Zero: Stalking the Killer Viruses with the Centers for Disease Control" - which I WOULD read again.
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My former student, Max, and I are interviewed by +Bethany Brookshire on our recent project, examining resistance to zinc in Staphylococcus aureus https://student.societyforscience.org/blog/eureka-lab/teen-studies-how-germs-resist-our-drugs?mode=blog&context=80
A high school student’s work on zinc resistance ended up in a scientific paper
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HIV denial: alive and well in 2014. And in peer-reviewed public health journals. http://scienceblogs.com/aetiology/2014/09/26/hiv-denial-live-and-well-in-2014/
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Bad craziness
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Tara C. Smith

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New paper! Many years in the making, a study of 1300+ rural Iowans for Staph aureus carriage and infections: http://scienceblogs.com/aetiology/2015/04/30/st398-carriage-and-infections-in-farmers-united-states/
I’ve been working on livestock-associated Staphylococcus aureus and farming now for almost a decade. In that time, work from my lab has shown that, first, the “livestock-associated” strain of methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) that was found originally in Europe and then in Canada, ST398, is in the United States in pigs and farmers; that it’s present…
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congrats!
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So much fun to do TWiV for this week. Thanks for having me on!
 
 +Tara C. Smith of Aetiology joins us for this week's discussion of Ebola virus on the science show This Week in Virology.
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New post at Mic: Ebola fears in the heartland, or the last few days at a university that's been hit with a possible Ebola exposure: http://mic.com/articles/101572/here-s-what-it-looks-like-when-ebola-fear-comes-to-the-heartland
How one American university is handling a brush with the deadly disease.
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New post! My article in The Guardian on Ebola in Texas--Your cousin from Dallas is not going to turn your town into a scene from 28 Days Later. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/30/ebola-dallas-spreading-across-america
Tara C Smith: Be concerned for Africa, but, really: do not lose sleep over Ebola spreading across America. It’s not going to
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Of course not 28 Days Later, silly, that was in London. Everyone knows the Texas zombie movie is Planet Terror. Duh.  
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It’s nine months into the biggest Ebola outbreak in history, and the situation is only going from bad to worse. The outbreak simmered slowly in West Africa from December 2013, when the first case was retrospectively documented, through March, when it was first recognized by international authorities. It began gaining...
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Curious...

To my admittedly limited understanding, at least part of the problem, in West Africa, seems to be the existence of a natural reservoir for ebola (fruit bats), and how that interacts with the human food chain (bush meat). 

In the US, for example, is there any potential for a similar ebola reservoir to develop, and, if so, could that reservoir potentially interact with our food chain?
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Have her in circles
21,696 people
Andrew Heggen's profile photo
Komang Setiabudi's profile photo
Rezaul Alom's profile photo
shankar bs's profile photo
mithra loi's profile photo
obohalena seka's profile photo
Pyro MoverHD's profile photo
Indy Kochte's profile photo
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Education
  • University of Michigan
    Postdoc, infectious disease epidemiology, 2002 - 2004
  • University of Toledo
    PhD, Microbiology, 1998 - 2002
  • Yale University
    BS, Biology, 1994 - 1998
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Work
Occupation
Infectious Disease Epidemiologist
Employment
  • Kent State University
    Associate Professor, 2013 - present
  • University of Iowa
    Assistant Professor, 2005 - 2012
  • University of Iowa
    Associate Professor, 2012 - 2013
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Gender
Female