FIVM Series presents: Solving a Medical Mystery

Using a One Health Approach to Investigate an Outbreak of Unexplained Kidney Disease in Nicaragua
Dr. Kristy Murray

Dr. Kristy Murray

Over the past two decades, an unrelenting epidemic of Mesoamerican Nephropathy (MeN), a kidney disease of unknown origin, is responsible for more than 50,000 deaths in Central America. MeN primarily affects young agricultural workers who lack traditional risk factors for kidney disease, and although preliminary data hint at an infectious or toxic process the cause remains unknown.

On Friday, February 18, Dr. Kristy Murray will talk about an epidemiologic investigation undertaken to solve this medical mystery – an investigation that used a One Health approach, bringing together veterinarians, physicians, epidemiologists, infectious disease specialists, toxicologists, and even a volcanologist.

Dr. Murray’s presentation will provide an overview of the investigation and findings to date on the etiologic cause of Mesoamerican Nephropathy.

Dr. Kristy Murray, DVM, PhD, is the Vice-Chair for Research for the Department of Pediatrics and a Professor of Pediatrics in the section of Pediatric Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine.  She also serves as the Assistant Dean for Faculty and Academic Development for the National School of Tropical Medicine, and is the Director of the Center for Human Immunobiology at Texas Children’s Hospital.

Dr. Murray received her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Texas A&M University in College Station and a PhD in Preventive Medicine and Community Health in Clinical Investigations from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. 

Dr. Murray spent the first five years of her career at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). At CDC, she served two years as an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer conducting outbreak investigations, including the initial outbreak of West Nile virus in New York City in 1999, bubonic plague in Wyoming, unexplained illness and deaths in injection drug users in Ireland, and polio in Bangladesh. In 2002, Dr. Murray returned to Texas, and her research over the past 20 years has been focused on both laboratory and clinically based studies related to vector-borne and zoonotic diseases.

Dr. Murray has received several awards for her work in academia, including the Innovation in Health Science Education Award from the UT Academy of Health Science Education and the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine’s Distinguished Alumni Award.  Dr. Murray has authored more than 130 scientific and technical papers.