To fight Zika, Central Florida hospitals and doctors ramp up patient education, surveillance
In the fight against the spread of Zika, local doctors and hospitals are ramping up education and surveillance in Central Florida to contain the spread of the virus.
There is a heavy emphasis on patient education, while providers are on high alert for travel histories and on the lookout for potential cases that should be tested for Zika.
“There’s a limit in what we can do to reverse the effects of Zika,” said Dr. Vincent Hsu, hospital epidemiologist at Florida Hospital. “So what we do is a combination of supportive care and making sure that babies are referred to the right specialists. It’s really ensuring that there’s coordination of care among specialties.”
“We haven’t had pathogens in the past that have done all of these,” said Dr. Asim Jani, hospital epidemiologist for Orlando Health.
Jani and Hsu are former CDC disease detectives. The two have been collaborating since earlier this year to align their health systems’ Zika preparation efforts, most of which involve updating and educating their staff on the evolving Zika screening and testing guidelines.
The two systems, which have well-established labor and delivery units and maternal-fetal specialists, have also taken on the responsibility of caring for pregnant women who test positive for the Zika virus.
Johns Hopkins Opens Unique Comprehensive Care Center for Zika Virus Led by the Wilmer Eye Institute
As the number of patients with Zika virus grows worldwide, Johns Hopkins Medicine announces the opening of the new Johns Hopkins Zika Center, dedicated to caring for pregnant women and newborn babies, but also men and women of all ages with the mosquito-borne and sexually transmitted virus. The center will focus not only on diagnosis and treatment of infected individuals but also on the assessment of long-term effects, as well as new approaches to prevention and treatment of Zika virus infection. It is composed of providers and staff members from adult and pediatric departments and divisions within Johns Hopkins Medicine and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, including cellular engineering, epidemiology, infectious diseases, maternal-fetal medicine, neonatology, neurology and neurosciences, ophthalmology, orthopaedics, pediatrics, physiotherapy, psychiatry, psychology and social work. Medical experts from Brazil, a country greatly affected by Zika virus, are also members of the center.