A U.S. Army doctor presented a study on prenatal Zika screenings at the Infectious Disease Week conference at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in the nation’s capital.
Maj. Trevor R. Wellington, a U.S. Army medical officer from the 1st Area Medical Laboratory and Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, presented the study that provides greater insight into the role of prenatal Zika virus screenings and highlights the burden of mosquito-borne viruses on the Military Health System.
Wellington said his presentation was one of 150 scientific sessions at the Infectious Disease Week conference as well as 1,735 poster presentations, ranging from COVID-19 treatment updates to leadership development practices.
“As global climate change further expands the areas in which mosquitos live, the diseases they carry will have an even greater impact on the medical readiness of Soldiers,” said Wellington, who is originally from Lake Forest, Illinois. “The next steps in my research include examining the overall burden of Zika virus and other mosquito-borne viruses, such as dengue and chikungunya, on our service members and evaluating what force health protection countermeasures we can take to prevent these infections.”
According to Wellington, his presentation was well received at the widely attended event. While official attendance numbers for this year’s Infectious Week Disease conference are still pending, the event has had more than 8,000 attendees annually for the past three years, with this year being similar in size.
“The presentation received positive feedback from both military and non-military attendees,” said Wellington. “An audience member from Colombia in South America lauded my research on the burden of Zika virus, citing the attention it brings to the impact of mosquito-borne viral infections on the global population.”
Wellington joined the U.S. Army in 2016. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in biology from Georgetown University in Washington, he attended Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine in Maywood, Illinois, on a scholarship from the Army Health Professions Scholarship Program.
He completed his internal medicine residency at Madigan Army Medical Center on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, in 2019 and a fellowship in infectious disease at the Brooke Army Medical Center on Fort Sam Houston, Texas, prior to his current assignment.
Wellington is currently dual hatted between the 1st Area Medical Laboratory and the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research.
A one-of-a-kind mobile laboratory, the 1st Area Medical Laboratory is part of the 44th Medical Brigade and the 20th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives (CBRNE) Command, the U.S. military’s premier all hazards formation.
American Soldiers and U.S. Army civilians from 20th CBRNE Command deploy from 19 bases in 16 states to take on the world’s most dangerous hazards in support of joint, interagency and allied operations.
Headquartered on Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, the 1st Area Medical Laboratory has supported many important missions.
In 2014 – 2015, the 1st AML led Task Force Scientist in Liberia and supported the U.S. effort to help contain the Ebola outbreak there. Soldiers from 1st AML also served in seven overseas locations to support the COVID-19 response, including U.S. military hospitals in Germany, South Korea and Japan.
Col. Matthew J. Grieser, the commander of the 1st Area Medical Laboratory, said his command benefits from the expertise of officers like Wellington.
“The relationship between the 1st AML and the laboratories helps us to keep the research community involved at the forward edge of military operations,” said Grieser, a native of Mulino, Oregon, and former enlisted Soldier who has deployed multiple times to Afghanistan and Iraq and served in Haiti, Panama and New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. “The 1st AML provides a one-of-a-kind capability to our combatant commanders, interagency partners and allies around the world.”