Dr. Judith Milcarsky: “Mad About Poo: The Biology of Toxoplasmosis” January 14th, 2016, 7 pm Evenings at Whitney Public Lecture
Judith Milcarsky, DVM, studies Toxoplasma and its association with human illness. Toxoplasma gondii is a protozoan parasite that infects warm-blooded animals [including humans] throughout the world. The sexual phase occurs in the intestine of all felids and the millions of oocysts generated from a single cat remain infectious in the environment for years.
Two asexual phases occur in the tissues of birds, mammals (including cats), and humans. Infection may be unapparent or result in a myriad of symptoms ranging from blindness to death. People become infected either from fecal oocysts or by eating the undercooked meat of infected animals.
Research in the last decade has shown linkage with this parasite and the serious mental illness that is Schizophrenia. Dr. Milcarsky will discuss two populations in Volusia County are particularly at risk for infection with T. gondii: schoolchildren and the homeless. This concern highlights the public health risks associated with feral cats.
Judith Milcarsky grew up in Orlando, Florida. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Laboratory Technology from Auburn University in 1982 and earned a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Florida in 1986. Dr. Milcarsky has had a mobile, small-animal practice in Daytona Beach for over twenty years. For the past decade, she has publicly addressed the association between feral cats and the fatal disease that is rabies.
In July 2014, Dr. Milcarsky became one of the lead investigators for a nationwide study, The Silver Leash Project, a collaborative investigation with the USDA, to determine if owned dogs can be a sentinel for environmental contamination with Toxoplasma. This parasite has also been linked to suicide and the suicide rate in veterinarians has reached a level of concern. In February 2015, a second national study [also in conjunction with the USDA] was launched: The Silver Band Project seeks to compare exposure rates to Toxoplasma between veterinarians [and their staff members] and gender, age, race and geography-matched physicians [and their staff members], and similarly matched members of society.
You can find more information about the Silver Band project at the following website: https://www.avma.org/News/JAVMANews/Pages/150501g.aspx
Time/ Date: 7 pm, Thursday, January 14, 2016
Location: Center for Marine Studies at the
Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience
9505 Ocean Shore Blvd., St. Augustine
located in the town of Marineland.
Lectures are free and open to the public. There is no charge for parking and reservations are not necessary.
The Evenings at Whitney are a series of lectures on current science topics or on-going research at the Whitney Lab. Speakers are recognized experts in their fields and encourage questions and discussion. Lectures are presented the first or second Thursday of each month, September through May in the Whitney’s 260+ seat Lohman Auditorium.
The Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience is a biomedical and biotechnology research institute of the University of Florida. It is composed of ten different internal labs that use marine organisms for basic biological research that can be applied to human health, natural resources and the environment. The Lab provides training for future experimental biologists, education programs for kindergarten through university level students and monthly lectures for the general public to bring lifelong learning to the community. It is located at 9505 Ocean Shore Blvd., St. Augustine, on the border of Flagler and St. Johns counties. You can find more information about the Whitney Lab at www.whitney.ufl.edu .