University of Maryland Medical Center posts displayed by tag

UMB Hosts Emergency Exercise

What would the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) do if a terrorist group released radioactive material in Baltimore City with large-scale contamination and mass casualties? How would UMB’s local, state, and federal partners help in such an emergency?

This scary thought was the basis for the Inner Harbor Thunder emergency exercise held Jan. 17 at the SMC Campus Center.

The all-day tabletop exercise created by the U.S. Department of Energy National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and the FBI “to build an in-depth understanding of responding to a terrorism incident involving radiological, nuclear, or other weapons of mass destruction” drew more than 130 participants.

They represented local, state, and federal law enforcement, the Baltimore City Fire Department, state and federal emergency response and regulatory agencies, UMB and other local universities, the University of Maryland Medical Center, and congressional staff members.

UMB and Yale are the two university sites where such exercises are being held this year.

“I think the exercise was a huge success,” said Steven Deck, DM, MBA, director of UMB’s Department of Environmental Health and Safety, who organized and coordinated the tabletop exercise. “Participants increased their understanding of each agency’s and organization’s role as members of a regional team responding to a radiological incident.”

Added Laura Kozak, MA, associate vice president, Office of Communications and Public Affairs, “The most interesting thing to me was the contacts that I made — these were people we would actually be working with if an emergency of this magnitude occurred — but also the number of agencies that are available to respond.

“Of course, you hope we never confront such an emergency,” said Kozak, one of more than a dozen UMB people who took part in the exercise, “but this kind of preparation and being aware of the expertise of your partners can prove invaluable.”

According to the NNSA, nearly 7,000 people from across the country have participated in such Thunder tabletop exercises. Follow-up discussions are planned in Baltimore to further improve the region’s ability to respond to a radiological incident.

— Chris Zang

 

Chris Zang Community Service, Education, For B'more, People, Technology, UMB News, University LifeFebruary 1, 20180 comments
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‘Ladies Who Lunch’ Women’s Health Seminar Scheduled for Jan. 24

Harry Johnson, MD, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, will be the featured speaker at the first Ladies Who Lunch: Women’s Health Seminar on Wednesday, Jan. 24, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., at the SMC Campus Center, Room 210.

Johnson will discuss the latest treatments relating to gynecology and pelvic health concerns.

Lunch will be served, registration is required, and space is limited. You can register to attend at this link.

 

Erin Rummel Bulletin Board, Education, UMB News, University LifeJanuary 9, 20180 comments
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Join UMMC for Schwartz Rounds and Nursing Grand Rounds Back-to-Back

On Tuesday, Dec. 12, at 11 a.m., the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) will host a two-hour special event featuring the emotional exploration of Schwartz Rounds (Topic: “Taking Things Personally: The Toil and Harvest of Caregiving”) and a unique experiential Nursing Grand Rounds (Topic: “Odes, Licks, and Flicks: The Role of Humanities in Health Care”).

The event, which will be held in the UMMC Auditorium, is free and open to all University of Maryland students, residents, fellows, nurses, faculty, staff, and allied health providers.

 

Shapir Rosenberg Bulletin Board, Clinical Care, Collaboration, Contests, Education, People, ResearchNovember 28, 20170 comments
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Nursing’s Mueller-Burke and Colleagues to Assess Sedation Safety in Children

A 6-year old is experiencing a medical issue that doctors are unable to properly diagnose without ordering an MRI. On average, an MRI lasts 30 minutes to an hour and requires patients to lie completely still in a narrow, enclosed space — a tall task for a young child. In cases like these, and for other medical or dental procedures, sedation is often used to allow providers to treat children, especially those younger than 7. While sedating a child may allow for successful diagnosis and/or treatment, there are risks. According to a 2015 report in Pediatric Critical Care Medicine, approximately 5 percent of children suffer life-threatening, adverse events while sedated during a procedure.

When colleagues at the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) approached Dawn Mueller-Burke, PhD ’01, MS ’98, CRNP, NNP-BC, assistant professor, University of Maryland School of Nursing (UMSON), to investigate how children undergoing procedures are being monitored for safe and adequate sedation, it was a well-matched collaboration, as Mueller-Burke had previously worked on a National Institutes of Health-funded grant regarding sedation in UMMC’s pediatric ICU.

Now, Mueller-Burke is teaming with fellow UMSON faculty member Shari Simone, DNP ’11, MS ’96, CRNP-AC, PPCNP-BC, FCCM, FAANP, assistant professor; and UMMC colleagues Peggy Dorr, DNP, CPNP, pediatric nurse practitioner, Pediatric Sedation Service, and Karen Kaiser, PhD, RN, clinical practice coordinator, Oncology, Pain, and Palliative Care, on a $14,800 UMNursing Collaborative Grant for the joint research project, “Testing Reliability, Validity and Clinical Utility of the Richmond Agitation and Sedation Scale in Spontaneously Breathing Children Undergoing a Procedure,” which they hope will prevent future sedation/agitation complications in a young population.

The Richmond Agitation and Sedation Scale (RASS) can accurately assess mechanically ventilated, sedated, pediatric critically ill patients. Mueller-Burke and the UMMC team will determine the validity, reliability, and clinical utility of RASS when used by nurses in the largest pediatric population of spontaneously breathing children to be assessed to date. Using a single tool across an institution’s care settings may reduce the risk of communication errors due to misinterpretation by providers and staff in different settings. Mueller-Burke expects the team’s findings to be applicable to a large procedural sedation population and allow description of procedural sedation patterns, both priorities of a national pediatric sedation professional organization.

“It’s great to see UMSON and UMMC nurses collaborating on a nursing project that has clear nursing outcomes. It’s really important to determine if the tools nurses use to assess children are good for the task. If they’re not, we need to adjust them or develop others,” said Erika Friedmann, PhD, professor and associate dean of research, UMSON. “This research will make a meaningful contribution to nursing practice and quality of care for vulnerable children as they undergo procedures required to diagnose and treat their health conditions.”

In addition to being exposed to sedatives during procedures more frequently than are adults, children are at risk for adverse events while receiving sedative or analgesic medications because they require a deeper level of sedation and their physiology places them at higher risk for respiratory depression and hypoxia (Cravero, et al., 2006). Although clinical judgment is important, the use of a reliable, valid, clinically useful sedation/agitation tool is critical in determining a young patient’s sedation needs. This routine assessment should minimize adverse effects associated with the sedation medications used.

“As a faculty member of the School of Nursing, I’m embracing the opportunity to work with an incredible cadre of nurse scientists and clinicians from UMMC where this idea was born. I look forward to this special opportunity as a joint collaboration between the School of Nursing and UMMC to enable multiple educational opportunities for our doctoral students,” Mueller-Burke said. “Linking arms with our fellow DNP and PhD colleagues and the bridging of academic and UMMC resources and expertise exemplifies the goal of true translation of best evidence to practice.”

 

Kevin Nash Bulletin Board, Clinical Care, Collaboration, Education, For B'more, People, Research, UMB News, University Life, USGANovember 6, 20170 comments
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IBD Support Group Launching in November

The School of Medicine is teaming with the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation to launch a new IBD (inflammatory bowel disease) support group in November that’s open to patients, family members, caregivers, and professionals.

The first meeting will take place Nov. 8 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Enoch Pratt Free Library  in Roland Park (5108 Roland Ave., Baltimore).

If you or anyone you know might be interested, please don’t hesitate to attend the first meeting.

If you have questions or concerns, please contact Lauren Sibel at 410-706-8510 or via email at lsibel@som.umaryland.edu.

RSVPs are appreciated, but drop-ins are always welcome.

Lauren Sibel Bulletin Board, Collaboration, Education, People, UMB News, University LifeOctober 17, 20170 comments
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University of Maryland Medical System Honors Rowen By Endowing Scholarship at School of Nursing

The University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) has endowed a scholarship in honor of School of Nursing alumna Lisa Rowen, DNSc, MS ’86, RN, CENP, FAAN. Rowen, chief nurse executive for UMMS and senior vice president for patient care services and chief nursing officer at the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC), is being honored for her leadership and dedication to nursing practice, education, and research.

“When we were approached by Dean Kirschling and the School of Nursing about endowing a scholarship, we agreed it was a wonderful way to honor Dr. Rowen and to inspire future nurses pursuing their education at one of the country’s best nursing schools,” said Robert A. Chrencik, UMMS president and chief executive officer. “Across our health enterprise, we are fortunate to have nurses and nurse leaders who ensure that compassionate, high-quality patient care is at the core of all we do.”

Beginning in fall 2018, the Dr. Lisa Rowen Endowed Scholarship will be available annually to UMSON undergraduate students who exhibit great leadership potential. Since Rowen became UMMC’s chief nurse officer in 2007, UMSON and the hospital have enjoyed an expanded partnership. Many UMSON nursing students complete their clinical rotations on UMMC units, and the medical center is also the largest employer of UMSON graduates.

“We are thrilled that UMMS has chosen to honor Dr. Rowen through this scholarship,” said Dean Jane M. Kirschling, PhD, RN, FAAN. “In addition to her extraordinary 10 years of leadership at UMMC, she has played a central role in developing UMNursing, an innovative academic-practice partnership between the medical center and UMSON that promotes professional development for nurses through opportunities for education, research, and practice focused on optimizing health outcomes.”

Additionally, Rowen is one of UMSON’s visionary pioneers. UMSON Visionary Pioneers are expert clinicians, educators, and leaders in Maryland, the nation, and around the world. They have made a significant impact on and contributions to the nursing profession based on their leadership, innovation, or entrepreneurship. Rowen oversees nursing at the 12-hospital UMMS, setting the standard for nursing practice, standards of care, and issues related to and of importance to nurses. She has also played a major role in UMSON’s statewide Nurse Leadership Institute, which builds leadership capacity in nursing faculty and clinicians, thereby improving health care delivery throughout Maryland.

“The endowed scholarship was such a wonderful surprise,” Rowen said. “I am humbled and delighted by the University of Maryland Medical System’s recognition of both the nursing profession and me. I can’t think of a more gratifying honor than one that supports the education of future nurses, especially for the students who are learning at UMSON, an institution that has played such an integral role in my education and professional career.”

Kevin Nash Bulletin Board, Collaboration, Education, For B'more, People, UMB News, University Life, USGAAugust 8, 20170 comments
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Project Search

Project SEARCH Grads Conquer Labels

The 16 graduates filed into the Elm Ballroom at the SMC Campus Center on June 1, looking regally academic in their dark blue robes and caps as the traditional “Pomp and Circumstance” played on the sound system. There was one more thing all the graduates wore — ear-to-ear smiles. Because this was the commencement of the Project SEARCH Class of 2017 at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) and the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC).

And there was much to celebrate. For every graduate had overcome obstacles that eclipse those faced by your average high school senior. Those beaming in their caps and gowns all face intellectual and developmental disabilities. But like Project SEARCH said in its invitation to the ceremony “I will not let my disability affect my ability.”

“Just because the doctors placed a label over our children’s heads does not mean that they cannot do,” said Kadijah Bey Bryan, whose son Devonte was among the graduates. As the 80-plus family members in the audience nodded their agreement, Bryan continued “they have conquered and we see that today.”

She and Ottillie Geddis, mother of graduate Afrika Geddis, both admitted they had huge reservations when first approached about Project SEARCH, which offers Baltimore public high school seniors with intellectual and developmental disabilities the opportunity to explore careers and acquire real-life job skills by working at a business.

“Like most parents I was skeptical when we first signed up for Project SEARCH,” said Geddis, whose daughter only allowed her to speak during the ceremony after giving her a hug. “However after working with the staff and seeing the many different things they do with our children — the parenting and nurturing they continue to receive as they are being prepared for being independent and a job is miraculous. Thank you for all you have done!”

Steve Morgan, executive director of The Arc Baltimore, which partners with the Baltimore City Public School System and the Division of Rehabilitation Services to bring Project SEARCH to UMB, UMMC, and other institutions, also expressed his thanks for “the honor and pride” the graduates brought him in his final days before retirement.

A Word From the Grads

Then it was time to turn the ceremony over to the stars of the day — the graduates themselves. One by one, all got up in front of the crowd, introduced themselves, discussed the three 10-week rotations they worked at UMB and/or UMMC, and thanked those who helped them along the way.

Anthony Alleyne Jr., the first graduate to speak, spoke of cleaning offices, shelves, and stairways. Davon Barrett worked in food services and the cafeteria, preparing beverages, stocking utensils and snacks. Christopher Brawner broke down boxes and stocked shelves in materials management and like Leah Bryant and Jalena Ford helped clean gym equipment and fold towels in URecFit. Chinazo Ihezie folded sheets in linen services, Maurice Womack transported patients, and Michael Powell and Daquan Walkins sorted packages on the receiving dock.

Helping at the Subway restaurant at UMMC, veterinary resources, police station, parking and transportation, gift shop, carpentry. The list went on and on, with each graduate proudly discussing their rotation duties. Adding levity was the fact that each graduate had coined a nickname like “Food Queen,” “Mr. Talkative,” “The Princess,” and “Mr. Smiley,” aka Christopher Smith, who indeed did not stop laughing and smiling during his entire presentation.

Every so often the graduates said the magic words program manager Tameka Harry and the other Project SEARCH leaders long to hear: I found a job!

“Our goal is 100 percent employment for each individual,” Harry said after the festivities. “It might not happen right after graduation. But we will continue looking for jobs until we have everybody placed. And not any job but a job they want.”

Laughs and Tears

The students’ thanks brought tears to some in the audience. “I would like to thank my grandmother for taking care of me. I love you,” said Tyanna Israel.

“Thanks to my mom, all the staff, my new friends, and Ms. Loretta aka Mom,” said Nikita Green. “I would like to thank my supervisor, Mr. Kenny for being a good role model,” said Maurice Wilkes. “Mrs. Danielle, thank you for the sweet treats you gave us,” said Brian Butler.

After the graduates received their Project SEARCH diplomas and posed for pictures, they formed a conga line and danced out of the room, united after spending their senior year of high school together.

“I ain’t gonna lie — you all get on my nerves sometimes,” Devonte Bey said to the class in his closing remarks at the podium. “Just like my brothers and sisters get on my nerves at home and that’s what you are to me — you are my brothers and sisters. If I had to repeat a school year I couldn’t think of a better class than this to be with.”

Afterward, smiles abounded. Jerry Bullinger, former Arc Baltimore director, who brought his wife, Carol, recalled how an earlier UMB Project SEARCH graduation had been held in a classroom.

“The program has come so far,” he said. “I just get such joy being here and seeing this. Vassie Hollamon [associate director, Operations and Maintenance] and Joanna Falcone [senior director, Arc Baltimore] were the ones who were so instrumental in getting everything off the ground nine years ago here. The University’s and the hospital’s support over the years for Project SEARCH has just been phenomenal.”

Elise Collier, whose Baltimore Transition Connection program worked with many of the graduates before they came to UMB/UMMC, was beaming. “Oh my goodness, yes I’m proud, you just don’t know!” she said. “I think I have seven more next year already accepted into the program.”

Tameka Harry stood outside the ballroom and happily surveyed the scene, graduates and families eating, drinking, and celebrating.

“I’m ecstatic,” she said. “I’m proud of them because I watch them when they come in until they leave. We are tough on them because we believe they can do virtually anything with the training of our job coaches. People come and say they want to be doctors, We don’t tell them they can’t be doctors but we’ll say how would you like to work in a hospital? For instance, the ones interning in the emergency room like doing what doctors and nurses do. It’s a proud day!”

by Chris Zang

Departments that are interested in utilizing Project SEARCH interns can notify program manager Tameka Harry at THarry@umaryland.edu.

Chris Zang Collaboration, Education, People, UMB News, University LifeJune 8, 20171 comment
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Davidge-Hall-Tour

Employees Embrace Davidge Hall Tour

Davidge Hall is the most distinctive building on the UMB campus. As the oldest medical school building in continuous use for medical education in the Western Hemisphere, its historic columns and dome are the basis for the logo shared by UMB and the University of Maryland Medical Center.

But what lies inside its walls is still a mystery to many, which is why Larry Pitrof, executive director of the University of Maryland School of Medicine Alumni Association, provided a lecture and tour on May 24, the latest event sponsored by UMB’s Council for the Arts & Culture. Completed in 1812, Davidge Hall still fascinates faculty, staff, and students, who filled the available 25 slots the first day the notice was posted.

“I actually walked through here 30 years ago and am curious to see what has changed,” said Larry Miller, a longtime member of financial services and the first to arrive. “It was fascinating then; I remember the acoustics in one room where someone could whisper at one end and be heard at the other. That and the skeleton in the doorway,” he said with a laugh.

Pitrof said there are lots of skeletons in the Davidge Hall closet. Going over the building’s history in Chemical Hall while the visitors munched on boxed lunches, he spoke of how the first building used by Dr. John Beale Davidge to teach anatomy was destroyed by an angry mob citing the dissection of cadavers as the desecration of human remains. Grave digging was the prime source of cadavers then.

When 10 percent of Baltimore City’s population died of yellow fever in the late 1790s, it inspired support for an entity to bring together those like Dr. Davidge who understood the mysteries of medicine, and the School of Medicine, the University of Maryland, Baltimore, and Davidge Hall came to be. “Dr. Davidge and his colleagues paid about $40,000 to have the hall built on land that was donated,” Pitrof recalled.

Design of the building exhibits characteristics found in the architecture of Benjamin Henry Latrobe, who built America’s first anatomical theater at the University of Pennsylvania in 1806, said Pitrof, who showed side-by-side slides of the two buildings. Such a “classical looking building would elevate the medical profession at the time,” he said.

Indeed, medicine in the early 1800s wasn’t the respected field it is today. “Remedies were crude then — cupping and bleeding. You went to the hospital to die, not to be cured,” Pitrof said. Later he added, “Layer upon layer is how medicine is based. The benefits we enjoy today are all based on what happened then and our School of Medicine is a big contributor to that.”

After the history lesson, Pitrof discussed necessary renovations for Davidge Hall, starting with the exterior (roof problems despite a 2002 restoration) and the interior (complete overhaul of the heating and cooling system). The School of Medicine and its Alumni Association is raising $5 million through naming opportunities but the overall Davidge renovation is expected to cost $25 million.

The need for repairs became more apparent when the group moved to the Anatomical Hall, directly above Chemical Hall. Aside from their rising circular seating, the two rooms couldn’t be more different in ambience. Chemical Hall is dark, almost foreboding. Anatomical Hall, a room with the great acoustics Miller remembered, is energetically bright with light streaming through the circular skylights and domed ceiling. “The jewel of the building,” in Pitrof’s eyes.

That once proud ceiling of decorative semicircles and rosette patterns that saw Marquis de Lafayette awarded the first honorary doctorate from the university in 1824 has fallen on hard times, with water damage and decay at the base of the dome forming a patchwork of problems.

In the next couple of months we hope the exterior work will begin,” Pitrof said. After answering a few questions, he dismissed the group to check out the various displays in the building — the Allan Burns collection of medical artifacts, portraits of early SOM deans, eyewear and World War II collections, and much more.

Asked the reason for the tour, Pitrof replied, “Despite its distinction as America’s oldest existing medical teaching facility, there is a surprisingly large segment of our campus community that has never visited the building. This tour is part of a larger campus effort to engage colleagues in a manner that enriches their experience and makes them even more proud of our university.”

Lingling Sun, a laboratory research specialist in the Institute of Human Virology, said it did exactly that for her. “I knew of the symbol, now I know the history of Davidge Hall,” she said. “I’m proud to be part of the School of Medicine.”

Miller was happy to get an updated look at the building. “I don’t remember all the display cases. This was real interesting.”

And there were several visitors like Karen Hornick from the Department of Medicine who had only had brief glimpses of Davidge Hall previously. “I finally made it,” she said with a smile. “The tour was great. I’d definitely recommend it.”

Learn more about UMB’s Council for the Arts & Culture.

by Chris Zang

Chris Zang Education, People, Research, Technology, UMB News, University LifeMay 25, 20170 comments
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Ear-buds

Seasonal Safety

As we transition from winter to spring, we often become relaxed in our environment and forget some of our regular safety habits. A key factor to personal safety is staying aware of your surroundings and avoiding dangerous people and places. You can increase your safety by doing simple things:

  • Look confident
  • Stay alert
  • Focus on your surroundings
  • Put your phone and headphones away
  • Day and night, walk with a friend or colleague when possible
  • Keep your belongings close to you and never leave your property unattended
  • Use UMB’s safety options listed below

Notably, employing cell phone safety while walking around campus is a good habit to develop or rethink.

It probably comes as no surprise that wearing headphones has the potential to prohibit us from hearing things going on around us, but Dr. Lichenstein, professor of pediatrics at the University of Maryland Medical Center and his colleagues noted “two likely phenomena associated with [cell phone related] injuries and deaths: distraction and sensory deprivation.” Research has actually shown that using headphones poses the threat of increasing our chance of being involved in an accident because we miss auditory cues that we would otherwise hear. We could also become more of a crime target because we are disengaged from our surroundings. And most obviously, criminals see that we have a cell phone available for taking.

GARAGE OPTIONS

Permitted parkers can park in any garage before 9 a.m. and after 4 p.m. Monday – Friday and all day on the weekends. Student specific information is available as well as information for Faulty/Staff.

WALKING AND VAN ESCORTS

UMB provides walking and van escorts.

Dana Rampolla Bulletin Board, Community Service, Education, People, University Administration, University LifeApril 21, 20170 comments
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Medical Center Blood Drive

UMMC Blood Drive

Help those in need this holiday season by giving blood at UMMC’s three-day blood drive, Nov. 29 through Dec. 1.

Drive Details

  • Open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Nov. 29 and 30
  • Open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Dec. 1
  • Located on the first floor of the medical center
  • Walk-ins are welcome
  • Schedule an appointment at umm.edu/blood

Every unit donated can save three lives! The need is constant and the gratification is instant.

Please give blood.

Chris Lindsley Bulletin Board, Community Service, University LifeNovember 14, 20160 comments
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mosquitoELM

Ask A Pharmacist: Zika Virus

For many people, one of the more unpleasant experiences of summer is the increased presence of mosquitos and – you guessed it – the subsequent appearance of mosquito bites on arms, legs, and other unprotected extremities. However, with six confirmed cases of locally transmitted Zika virus reported in Miami, Fla., people in the United States have more to be concerned about than just the unrelenting itch of those bites. Primarily spread by the bite of an infected mosquito, Zika has been linked to birth defects and other potentially serious health conditions, and at this time, there is no vaccine or medicine to help protect against or treat the virus.

Emily L. Heil, PharmD, BCPS-AQ ID, assistant professor in the School’s Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science (PPS) and a clinical pharmacy specialist in infectious disease at the University of Maryland Medical Center, answers patients and health care professionals’ commonly asked questions about the virus and offers advice to pharmacists who might interact with patients who express concerns about the disease.

What is Zika?

Zika is a virus that spreads through the bite of infected mosquitos. Many people who get Zika will not experience any symptoms, or if they do have symptoms, the symptoms will be mild and include fever, rash, and joint pain. The main concern with Zika is the potential for birth defects.

How do people get infected with Zika?

Zika is spread through the bite of infected mosquitos – the Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitos, specifically. Zika can pass from a pregnant woman to her fetus during pregnancy or around the time of birth. There are no case reports to-date of infants acquiring Zika through breastfeeding. Zika can also be spread through sex from a person who has the virus to his or her sex partner(s). And, there is a possibility that Zika can be spread through blood transfusions, as there have been cases of Zika transmission through blood transfusions in Brazil. Risk of Zika to the blood supply in the continental U.S., however, is currently very low.

What symptoms are associated with Zika?

Most people who get infected with Zika will not experience any symptoms. If people do experience symptoms, they are very mild and only last a few days. Symptoms are non-specific and include fever, rash, joint pain, and headache.

Why is Zika dangerous?

Zika is dangerous because of its potential to cause severe fetal brain defects, specifically a birth defect known as microcephaly, when contracted during pregnancy. Microcephaly — a condition where an infant’s head is smaller than expected — does not allow for proper brain development and can be associated with seizures, developmental delay, intellectual disability, hearing and vision problems, and problems with movement and balance. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is also investigating a potential link between Zika and Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) — a disease of the central nervous system that can cause paralysis in the most severe cases.

What areas have been most affected by Zika?

Zika virus outbreaks are occurring in multiple countries, mostly in Central and South America and the Pacific islands. The current outbreak began in Brazil in early 2015. At the time of this post, there have been more than 1,900 travel-associated cases and six locally acquired cases of Zika in the United States. The local transmission cases were reported from the Wynwood neighborhood in Miami, Fla.

Should I avoid traveling to those areas?

Pregnant women and their partners should avoid traveling to areas where active Zika transmission has been reported. Couples thinking about getting pregnant should avoid traveling to areas with active Zika transmission before consulting with their health care provider. Additionally, couples should wait at least eight weeks after returning from travels to these areas before trying to get pregnant. All women thinking about getting pregnant who have traveled to a country where Zika transmission has been reported should talk to their OB/GYN.

What should a person do if he or she exhibits symptoms similar to those associated with Zika?

If you experience any symptoms of Zika and have visited an area affected by Zika, you should see your health care provider to be tested for the virus. This is especially important if you are pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant. There is no treatment for Zika other than symptom management by getting rest and drinking fluids to prevent dehydration.

What steps can people take to prevent Zika?

The most important thing you can do to prevent Zika is to avoid mosquito bites. The mosquitos that spread Zika bite most often during the day. Use an EPA-registered insect repellent, dress in clothing that covers your arms and legs, consider treating your clothing and gear with permethrin – an insecticide commonly used on clothing – and take steps to control mosquitos around your home, including using screens on windows and doors and emptying items that hold water, as mosquitos lay eggs near standing water. If you have traveled to an area where Zika transmission has been reported, protect yourself from sexual transmission by using condoms or other barrier methods.

As a pharmacist, how can I help alleviate patients’ fears about Zika?

Pharmacists can play an important role in educating patients about Zika by talking to them about prevention, specifically strategies to prevent mosquito bites. If patients have concerns about travel, pharmacists can help guide patients to other resources where they can seek out more information.

Where can I find more information about Zika?

The most up-to-date place to find accurate information about Zika is the CDC’s website.

Malissa Carroll Clinical Care, For B'moreAugust 19, 20160 comments
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