Dr. Sally Alrabaa is lead author for new American Association of Tissue Banking recommendations to prevent transmission of TB from donor tissue

October 6th, 2022

Dr. Alrabaa was chosen by the American Association of Tissue Banking to lead a sub-committee of member physicians in writing recommendations on reducing transmission of mycobacterium tuberculosis to patients via tissue transplant.  Dr. Alrabaa is the medical director for tissue banking services at Lifelink Tissue Bank. She is also a clinical faculty member of the ID transplant team at Tampa General Hospital, and tuberculosis consultant to the Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County.  The committee’s recommendation can be found here.

A HERO in our midst!

July 3rd, 2022

Easter evening seemed just like any other evening. Dr. Casanas was ready to settle in for the evening and had just gotten out of the shower when she heard a man’s voice yelling from inside of her house. Thinking there was a man in her house, her initial thought was to escape out of the bathroom window, but she quickly realized that was not an option since her 11-year-old daughter was also in the house. Terrified, she ran to the living room to confront the man, but no one was there. Then, she looked out of the front door and saw two men running away from her house. Thinking she had been robbed, her and her daughter began looking around the house to see what was missing. Then, loud banging at the door startled her and she heard a man yelling. Her daughter, Cassandra, was able to make out the word seizure and said “Mommy, open the door, I think someone needs help!”. It was then that Dr. Casanas realized this was all about a medical emergency.

The men told her that one of the neighbors was having a seizure. Hesitant to expose her daughter, she almost didn’t go since EMS had already been called and there is not much that can be done for a seizure, but her daughter looked at her with expectation. So, without further hesitation, she ran down the street with her daughter.

Upon entering the neighbor’s house, she saw the lifeless body of a six-year-old boy lying on the floor. Dr. Casanas was frozen in shock for a moment as she saw the boy, his mother wailing and his father running around in a panic. Faced with the most stressful medical emergency imaginable, she sprang into action. Despite not having any medications nor life-saving equipment, she was able to revive the boy within five minutes. The EMS arrived fifteen minutes later. Dr. Casanas had brought the boy back, but was in angst over whether or not it was enough… would the little boy have any brain damage?

Dr. Casanas got the best news the following day when she received a call from the family thanking her for saving the boy’s life. She was grateful to hear that the boy was doing well and did not have any brain damage.

We applaud Dr. Casanas for her bravery that evening and congratulate her for saving that little boy’s life… she is a real hero!

Congratulations to Dr. Menezes selected for the 2022 COPH Outstanding Alumni Award!

April 1st, 2022

Dr. Lynette Menezes was selected as one of two USF College of Public Health alumni to receive the 2022 Outstanding Alumni Award. Dr. Menezes is a Professor in the Division of Infectious Disease & International Medicine. She serves as the assistant vice president of international programs for USF Health as well as assistant dean of USF Medicine International.

Dr. Menezes joined the ID faculty in 2003. Since that time, she has played an essential role in the growth and success of international programs across USF Health. While leading these programs, she has contributed her epidemiology and public health expertise to international and local research projects. She co-founded and leads the Scholarly Concentration in International Medicine and mentors USF and international trainees in research and public health while acting as a role model for our trainees and junior faculty.

Dr. Menezes oversees more than 90 USF Health collaborations in 38 countries around the world. These collaborations have engaged international medical professionals and students in collaborative research, field experiences, clinical externships, observerships, and hospital administrator training. Under her leadership, over 1900 USF Health students have engaged in global learning, research, and clinical externships abroad and more than 580 international medical and administrative professionals have come to USF for training. Locally, Dr. Menezes has been engaged in expanding services for the homeless while advising the student-run Tampa Bay Street Medicine, and recently co-founded a refugee clinic to serve displaced populations.

During the COVID pandemic, Dr. Menezes has been a key member of the USF COVID-19 taskforce, which has drawn from expertise across the university to create a safe environment for USF students, faculty, and staff.

Dr. Menezes was honored with this award at the 2022 National Public Health Week Annual Awards Ceremony on April 6.

Dr. Beata Casanas is Awarded this Year’s USF Outstanding GME Program Award

January 22nd, 2021

USF Professor and Infectious Diseases Fellowship program director Dr. Beata Casanas has been awarded the 2021 University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine Outstanding GME Program award.  Dr Casanas has been the USF Division of Infectious Diseases Fellowship program director since 2015, and is also a Professor of Medicine with the Department of Internal Medicine at the Morsani College of Medicine. Under her supervision, the Infectious Diseases Fellowship program has continued to flourish, with 11 competitive fellows participating annually across three USF-affiliated institutions. In addition to her fellowship program duties, Dr. Casanas is also Medical Director of the Hillsborough County Tuberculosis Clinic and is an active participant in multiple clinical trials.

Coronavirus Mythbusting: Dr. Oehler records Two-Podcast Series to Combat Coronavirus Misinformation

July 27th, 2020

As the world passes the 6 month mark since the WHO first declared the 2019 novel Coronavirus a “public health emergency of international concern,” one of the chief impediments to widespread support for public health measures has been online misinformation. Social media has been a hotbed for COVID-19 conspiracy theories and falsehoods. Many experts attribute online misinformation as being a factor in the resistance to mask wearing, quarantine measures, and the acceptance of other advice from public health officials. Misinformation, such as the conspiracy-laden film, “Plandemic,” has been widely circulated online.

With this in mind, Dr. Oehler, IDPodcast’s Editor-in-Chief, initially recorded a “Coronavirus myths” talk in May addressing some of the early social media misperceptions about coronavirus.  Dr. Oehler’s lecture addressed false social media assertions for such myths as the CDC’s reporting of death numbers, whether the Coronavirus outbeak was “predicted” by the Farmer’s Almanac, whether Coronavirus can be acquired from mail, food, or pets, and did the SARS CoV-2 virus originate from a Chinese scientific lab.  The talk was a hit, garnering more than a thousand views on YouTube.


But as the pandemic progressed well into the summer, combined with social justice protests and spikes of new cases in Florida and other southern states, Dr. Oehler decided that a second lecture was in order. The new lecture addresses issues related to mask wearing, testing, the financial health of hospitals, the effect of protesters on Coronavirus cases in affected communities, and whether we are likely to have a COVID-19 vaccine by early next year.


“Topics of science and medicine have gotten so political in our current climate, especially with the fact that we are in an election year,” Dr. Oehler said.  “I looked at some claims put forth by political leaders, whether or not they were well received by the public, with the perspective of asking, ‘what does the science say?’ What I found, sadly, is that the medical experts’ and public health officials’s advice has often been repeatedly sidelined in favor of political expediency, and not necessarily by just one political party.  ‘Should we go back to stay-at-home orders or is our testing adequate, for instance?’  These are questions best answered with science rather than politics.”


Dr. Oehler concludes, “When the pandemic ends, and we as a global community can reflect, and hopefully learn from this worldwide outbreak, I think we will sadly see that  from China to Europe to America, public health expert science-based guidance was frequently sidelined in favor of other priorities–minimizing a serious public health problem to avoid criticism, preventing economic injury to a state or community, or politicizing aspects of the coronavirus response to preserve a constituency. And the net affect was only to make things worse.”


Dr. Oehler’s Coronavirus Myths talks can be found here:


Coronavirus Myths: Separating fact from Fiction Recorded 5/6/2020

More Coronavirus Myths (And Misperceptions) Recorded 7/22/2020


VuMedi, an online information resource for clinicians, has recently partnered with IDPodcasts to offer segments from Dr. Oehler’s most recent Coronavirus Myths podcast on its platform. The segment on “mask myths” has garnered in excess of 10,000 views as of August 11. All six of the posts can be found here:

Click Here

Registration with the VuMedi site is free but is required to view their content.

IDPodcasts offers Coronavirus Resources during the 2020 Pandemic

May 18th, 2020

Tampa, FL, US – May 18, 2020.  To help clinicians and the public keep up with the latest information on the 2020 Coronavirus pandemic, IDPodcasts has been leveraging its online resources to offer information via its Website and YouTube channel.  Podcasts by USF Infectious Diseases attending Dr. Ana Velez, Dr Richard Oehler, ID Podcasts Editor-in-Chief, Dr. Seema Lakshmi, head of Coronavirus planning and epidemiology at Tampa General Hospital, and Dr. John Greene, Chief of Infectious Diseases at Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, now have been posted on our sites.  In addition, continuously updated coronavirus information is available through the “Latest ID News” scroll via or content partner, CIDRAP.


In addition, ID Podcasts’ extensive podcast archive offers supplementary content on other outbreaks, including podcasts on Smallpox, Ebola virus disease, and Zoonoses.  And IDPodcasts will continue to add new content regarding Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as the pandemic progresses.

USF Health Scholar Dr. Christian Brechot Authors Blog on the COVID-19 Pandemic

March 25th, 2020

Tampa, FL, US – In an attempt to provide further insights into the Coronavirus  as the disease prevalence continues to escalate within the US, USF Health Professor, researcher, and Senior Associate Dean Dr. Christian Brechot has inaugurated a blog on USF Health’s web site devoted to COVID-19.  Recent topics on the blog include the role of young adults in the pandemic’s spread, counter to their reputation as being, “invulnerable;” the all out scientific push to find effective drugs and a preventative vaccine, and the importance of getting the correct “denominator” in the calculation of mortality rates.

In addition to his contributions to this blog, Dr. Brechot serves as a USF Associate Vice President for International Partnerships and Innovation.   In addition, he has served as president of the Global Virus Network since 2017 and is past president of the world-renowned Pasteur Institute.


Dr. Brechot’s USF Health blog can be found at the following link:


Dr. Brechot’s Blog- March 25, 2020


IDPodcasts Contributors Dr. Richard Oehler and Dr. Sandra Gompf author JAMA Viewpoints article on the tenuous US Pharmaceutical Supply Chain

March 21st, 2020

Tampa, FL, US. March 16. USF Health Infectious Diseases specialists and IDPodcasts contributors Dr. Richard L Oehler and Dr. Sandra Gompf have authored a JAMA Viewpoints article addressing vulnerabilites in the U.S. pharmaceutical supply chain. The article was published online on March 16th, 2020.

According to Dr. Oehler, “We felt compelled to write this piece because as frontline Infectious Diseases providers, our patients have increasingly become the victims of the scarcity, rationing, and in some cases, complete and prolonged unavailability of some of our most critical and life-saving antibiotic agents. Over the last few years, we have personally experienced shortages of  antimicrobials such as benzathine penicillin G, metronidazole, ampicillin/sulbactam, and piperacillin-tazobactam (Zosyn).  After a particularly long supply interruption of Zosyn at our hospital, our curiosity got the best of us, and with a simple online search, we found that an explosion at a single plant in mainland China crippled the world’s single source for the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) of Zosyn. Digging deeper, we found that the piperacillin-tazobactam shortages that have been ongoing for years worldwide were not an isolated event—but a symptom of a fragmented, unreliable, and flawed global antibiotic supply chain.”

Dr. Oehler continued, “The shortcomings we found in antibiotic manufacture and supply were not limited to antibiotics alone.  The entire American pharmaceutical industry, in a race to lower costs, increase profit margins, and simplify domestic production, long-ago outsourced pharmaceutical manufacturing to emerging industrialized nations such as India and China. In doing so, manufacturing facilities previously within U.S. borders moved well beyond the easy reach of U.S. inspectors.  Under much less pressure to adhere to stringent U.S. quality standards, they are now at the long end of a pharmaceutical supply chain that reaches halfway around the world.”

He noted, “The goal of lowering the cost of generic off-patent drugs to a bare minimum has now led to a business environment that has reduced the number of manufacturing plants of vital U.S. medicines and their components (such as benzathine penicillin G) to just a handful of facilities worldwide, mostly in China. As the world’s leading producer of pharmaceutical drugs and APIs, China now has  unprecedented leverage over Western countries. In fact, our medical facilities would literally close in just a few weeks without vital Chinese-manufactured pharmaceutical compounds.”

Interestingly, as Dr’s Gompf and Oehler were drafting the article in November, 2019, they had no idea that China, the West’s primary source for most of the active pharmaceutical components used to make most pharmaceuticals, was about to confront a serious regional outbreak–COVID-19.  As the novel Coronavirus spread from Wuhan, China to other Asian countries, and ultimately, to South Korea, Italy, Spain, and the United States, the strain on the world’s industrial supply chains have reached a breaking point. This is no more true than with pharmaceuticals, as the US is now facing shortages of critical drugs like hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin, and tocilizumab which have been identified as potential therapeutic agents useful to treat the SARS CoV-2 virus. The article is now contributing to the national discussion about renewed pharmaceutical manufacturing within the US and about the importance of stockpiling critical drugs.

Dr. Oehler is a Professor of Medicine at USF Health’s Division of Infectious Diseases and is IDPodcast’s Editor-in-Chief and Webmaster.  Dr. Gompf is longtime Chief of Infectious Diseases at the James A Haley Veterans Hospital, one of the nation’s largest VA facilities.  Drs. Oehler and Gompf have more than 45 years of combined experience in the practice of Infectious Diseases and in the training of infectious diseases fellows.

The article can be found here:



IDPodcasts upgrades its website with performance and security enhancements

January 24th, 2020

Tampa, FL, January 24, 2020 – IDPodcasts’ state-of-the-art website platform has now entered its third decade of educating and informing an international audience with several all-new security enhancements. According to IDPodcasts editor-in-chief and webmaster, Dr. Richard Oehler, “The specific technology enhancements we’ve added may not be immediately recognized by many in our audience, but users will definitely recognize the performance improvements.”

The website has now migrated its hosting server to cPanel technology for improved reliability, hosting options, and backend website management.  Meanwhile, security features have been significantly enhanced with the addition of an SSL certificate technology to improve data security between users and the website. Also, the website has incorporated robust firewall technology to reduce its vulnerability to hackers, malicious website intrusion, malware, ransomware, and other online threats.

“Users should notice usability improvements with the site and must know that we take their security and protection from online threats to be of the highest importance to us when they come to IDPodcasts.net,” Dr. Oehler states.

IDPodcasts was co-founded in 2007 by Dr. Richard L. Oehler, Professor of Medicine at the University of South Florida College of Medicine, and Dr. John T. Sinnott, current Chairman of the Department of Internal Medicine at the Morsani College of Medicine at USF. Dr. Oehler has been its editor-in chief and webmaster since its inception.

All of IDPodcast’s content is provided free to users, is self-sponsored, and is open access across the online universe.  In addition to the YouTube Channel, IDPodcasts offers its content via smartphone and tablet apps, an iTunes Podcast series, and this website. New apps are currently under production for 2020 to bring an enhanced state-of-the-art IDPodcasts listening experience to the latest smartphone devices and tablets.


IDWeek 19: A Record Year for USF Infectious Disease Participation

October 22nd, 2019

USF Infectious Diseases Fellows, From Left to Right: Dr. Vidhya Sabapathy, Dr. Ju Hee Katzman, Dr. Greg Teo, Dr. Carlos Lopez-Perez, and Dr. Andrew Nguyen


USF’s Infectious Diseases fellows and faculty were well-represented at the Infectious Diseases Society of America’s annual IDWeek ’19 session, held in Washington, D.C., from October 2 to 6, 2019.  USF’s ID Division was collectively responsible for 14 poster presentations displayed between October 3rd through the 5th, and USF ID faculty Associate Professor Dr. Jamie Morano presented in a symposium on her experience in crafting the James A. Haley VA hospital’s outstanding ID Telehealth program, a national leader in the VA system.


 A selection of the diverse poster sessions that were presented appears below:


Author and second-year ID fellow Ju Hee Katzman and her co-authors shared data on a series of 38 breast cancer patients who developed gram-negative skin and soft tissue infections following tissue expander surgery.  The three most common pathogens found were Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Serratia marcescens, and Klebsiella pneumoniae. They concluded that in centers with a high percentage of gram-negative rods skin and soft tissue infections following tissue expander surgery, treating physicians should consider using perioperative antibiotics that include coverage against Pseudomonas, the most common isolate (45%).


Former (2017-2019) infectious disease fellow Dr. Shylah Moore and colleagues presented a poster on a five-year retrospective review within Florida’s Hillsborough County Department of Health comparing the trends and outcomes among HIV infected versus HIV uninfected patients with tuberculosis. Results suggested an HIV-TB coinfection rate that is slightly higher than the national population, with co-infected patients in the study sample having a statistically significant higher rate for cavitary TB.



Dr. Vidhya Sabapathy in front of her poster

Second year fellow Dr. Vidhya Sabapathy and colleagues reported on a retrospective analysis of 61 adult patients between 2010 and 2018 who were diagnosed and being treated for acute leukemia. All of the selected patients experienced severe neutropenia for 7 days or greater. Patient characteristics and infectious complications were examined. The most common diagnosis was AML. Bloodstream infections were the most common site, followed by respiratory tract infections. Gram-positive organisms were the leading etiology of bacteremias. In the subset of patients undergoing multiple induction chemotherapy, gram-negative pathogens were the leading cause of the bloodstream infections.




Dr. Shylah Moore and Colleagues’ Poster on Nocardia beijingensis

Dr. Shylah Moore, Dr. Johanna Asquith, and colleagues also reported on a retrospective chart review of 6 cases of a more recently described Nocardia strain first isolated in 2001 from sewage soil in China. The purpose of the study was to determine the risk factors and clinical manifestations of Nocardia beijingensis infection. All of the cases reviewed involved immunocompromised patients, were predominantly male, and had a mean age of 48. Most had lung involvement. Atypical manifestations included thecal sac infection and femur osteomyelitis. All isolates were susceptible to trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole, but ceftriaxone and carbapenems were mostly used.


Dr. Carlos Perez-Lopez, a second year infectious diseases fellow and other co-authors reviewed a retrospective cohort of patients for seropositivity to Strongyloides stercoralis who underwent transplant evaluation from 2014-2016. A total of 228 charts were reviewed, and 113 seropositive patients were identified. Male gender and caucasian race predominated in both the seronegative and seropositive groups. The study did not find any statistically significant difference in the demographic characteristics or risk factors that can be used for prediction of Strongyloides seropositivity among solid organ transplant candidates. Thus, the validity of universal screening was reinforced.


Dr. Jamie Morano, far left, on the panel at “Success Stories in Telehealth.”

Dr. Jamie Morano presented as part of the symposium, “Success Stories in Teleheath,” on “ID Telehealth Best Practices: Veterans Administration.” She presented with Christopher Crnich, MD, and Rima Abdel-Massih, MD, with Moderator John Lynch, MD, also on the podium.


For more information about IDWeek’s 2019 Scientific program, please visit the interactive program page.