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President's Letter

Maria E. Aguero-Rosenfeld, MD

It is my privilege to serve this year as the president of the NYC Branch of the American Society for Microbiology. NYC ASM has been named by National ASM one of the most active and vibrant Branches in the country.

My career as a clinical microbiologist started four decades ago in my home country of Chile, where I trained in Medicine and Medical Microbiology. I joined Bellevue Hospital and NYU-Langone Medical Center seven years ago after having worked for two decades at Westchester Medical Center, where I acquired experience in the diagnosis of tick-transmitted diseases such as Lyme Disease, Babesiosis and Anaplasmosis. It has been professionally rewarding working in NYC and most importantly, I had the opportunity to meet and interact with a great group of NYC based microbiologists.

We are very fortunate to have several health and academic institutions in NYC that bring a large diversity of professionals as well as interesting microorganisms to our fair city. We have dealt in the recent past with serious threats such as Ebola virus infection and an outbreak of Legionella last summer. This year we are facing the new threat of Zika virus, which is transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes and has been linked to microcephaly in infants when the infection is acquired during pregnancy. One of the biggest challenges at this point is the lack of commercial tests to assess Zika infection. Testing is being currently done through NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYC DOH and MH) and the NYS Department of Health at the Wadsworth Center. However recently, RT-PCR testing to detect Zika virus RNA in serum and urine is now available at several commercial laboratories. It is unknown at this point if Zika transmission would occur in our area through the bite of locally infected Aedes mosquitoes. Certainly, the NYC DOH and MH will keep us informed if that happens.

Our NYC ASM is proud to contribute to the expansion of knowledge of our members by having two annual symposia covering current and important topics in Microbiology. We always bring speakers of national and international reputation and this year will be no exception. National ASM has also provided us with a listing of distinguished guest speakers, whose knowledge and expertise will be of value and interest to our membership. We consider very seriously the suggestions given by our members through the survey issued at the end of every symposium, as it allows us to select topics and speakers for the upcoming events.

Finally, we encourage our members to continue visiting our website at www.nycasm.org for important news and events. You could also access our newsletter where educational topics are published, and you can register for the biannual symposia via this website using PayPal. Our Fall Meeting will take place on October 7th 2016. I hope to see you there! Please feel free to contact us if you have suggestions to make our Society even better.