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NUHS Faculty Learn More About Emerging Infectious Diseases

Monday, November 3, 2014

Several NUHS faculty and administrators gathered Wednesday, Oct. 22, to hear a presentation by colleague Jaya Prakash, MD, MPH, a specialist in medical and public health microbiology, chair of the Global Health Connections Committee and section councilor for International Health for the American Public Health Association.

“Emerging Infections: What’s a Clinician to Do?” covered key points alternative medical providers should consider regarding chikungunya virus mosquitonew infectious diseases. The talk was a presentation of the NUHS Florida Faculty Journal Club.

While Ebola currently dominates the media and minds of most Americans today, Dr. Prakash cautioned that there are other equally concerning diseases to keep a watchful eye for. For example, Dr. Prakash showed how health care providers in private practice settings would be far more likely to encounter active cases of tuberculosis or a dangerous new strain of H5N7 influenza currently spreading in China.  She stressed that because of these and other emerging pathogens, physicians should reexamine and strengthen their office protocols to prevent contagions from spreading to other patients, themselves and their staff members.

“Where we really need to educate ourselves is in identifying cases of Chikungunya,” says Dr. Prakash. Chikungunya is a serious mosquito borne virus that causes fever, headache and severe joint pain. It is currently spreading in the Caribbean islands.

“Chiropractic physicians would be very likely to encounter cases of Chikungunya, precisely because its symptoms include intense joint pain. Preparing for cases of mosquito-borne Chikungungya is especially important near the NUHS Florida campus. Florida is the only state that is currently showing cases of local transmission by mosquito. However, clinicians in other states may have patients who were recent travelers to the Caribbean.”

Dr. Prakash also covered steps in preparing an infectious disease response plan for an individual practice, establishing correct reporting procedures to local and state health authorities, and offered valuable links to resources available through the Center for Disease Control.

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