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Health Systems, Public Health Agencies Dedicate Resources to Zika Control and Treatment

August 25, 2016
by Heather Landi
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As the number of patients with Zika virus grows—2,260 confirmed cases in the U.S. according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)—Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins Medicine has opened a multidisciplinary Zika virus center with resources dedicated to caring for patients with the virus.

The Johns Hopkins Wilmer Zika Center is composed of providers and staff from departments and divisions at Johns Hopkins Medicine and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, including epidemiology, infectious diseases, maternal-fetal medicine, ophthalmology, orthopaedics, pediatrics, physiotherapy, psychiatry and social work. Medical experts from Brazil are also members of the center.

Patients will no longer be required to travel to multiple centers for care relating to Zika virus,” William May, M.D., associate professor of ophthalmology at the Johns Hopkins Wilmer Eye Institute, said in a statement. “Physicians and staff members in various departments at Johns Hopkins will be available to provide comprehensive care to patients within one institution.”

Adult and pediatric patients can be referred to the center by outside physicians or through several Johns Hopkins departments and divisions, including emergency medicine and maternal-fetal medicine. In addition to patient care, the Zika center team will also be involved in Zika virus research. “Our No. 1 priority will be focused on our patients, but our hope is that our care will also lead to many new developments in the effort to fight this potentially devastating disease,” May said in a statement.

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene this week launched an interactive website with resources and information about mosquito control efforts. The online tool provides New York residents access to maps showing mosquito surveillance and control activities in neighborhoods across the five boroughs of New York City.

The website was developed as the agency implements a comprehensive three year, $21 million plan to combat the spread of Zika in New York City.

“This interactive map will give New Yorkers information about our mosquito surveillance and control activities as it happens in their communities,” Health Commissioner Mary T. Bassett. M.D., said in a statement.  “Every day, members of our mosquito control team are collecting surveillance traps, investigating complaints of standing water, and using our tools to reduce the mosquito population.”

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, Zika virus is known to cause microcephaly, a birth defect that affects the brain, but it is also reported to cause eye abnormalities in up to more than half of babies infected with the illness, according to a recent study in Brazil.

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