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U. doctor to lead panel advising Olympians on infectious diseases

University of Utah Health Care Dr. Carrie Byington will lead a group formed to advise the United States Olympics Committee about infectious diseases.
University of Utah Health Care Dr. Carrie Byington will lead a group formed to advise the United States Olympics Committee about infectious diseases.
Kristan Jacobsen, University of Utah Health Care

SALT LAKE CITY — A University of Utah Health Care doctor was named Friday as the chairwoman of a panel formed to advise the U.S. Olympic Committee about the risks of infectious disease at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Dr. Carrie Byington will educate the country's Olympics contingent "regarding the mitigation, assessment and management of infectious disease," the U.S. Olympic Committee said in a statement.

Byington will lead the Infectious Disease Advisory Group, which will also use the services of Dr. Randy Tapliz from the University of California, San Diego and Capt. Martin Cetron from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The panel's responsibilities will include providing instructional material to athletes, answering their questions and assisting sick athletes in a supporting role.

“It is a true honor to chair this advisory group with some of our nation’s most experienced infectious disease specialists,” Byington said in a statement. “Helping Team USA is an incredibly unique opportunity and I look forward to providing the entire delegation with the most up-to-date and fact-based information available.”

Byington is a U. pediatrics professor whose research specializes in children's infections.

Diseases that Byington will address in her new role will include Zika, a mosquito-borne virus that is an epidemic in Central and Latin America. The World Health Organization has declared it a global health emergency.

Zika causes mild illness or no symptoms in most people but is believed to be linked to a birth defect that causes babies to be born with unusually small heads.

Contributing: Associated Press

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