USVI reports first locally acquired case of chikungunya

Magens Bay Beach in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, Caribbean

The US Virgin Islands Department of Health confirmed two new cases of chikungunya virus. The first case has been confirmed as locally acquired; the second case is an imported case with the patient having recent travel history outside of the territory. One previous imported case was confirmed on May 12, 2014.

Health Commissioner Darice Plaskett stated, “With the increasing number of confirmed cases reported in the Caribbean, the department of health has been proactively preparing for the introduction of the chikungunya virus into the territory. The department is working closely with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Juan F. Luis Hospital, Schneider Regional Medical Center, VI Waste Management Authority and the VI Department of Tourism to raise awareness and prevent the spread of the virus.”

Chikungunya or Chik-V is a mosquito-borne viral disease similar to dengue that is transmitted to people by infected mosquitoes. Like dengue, chikungunya is spread by the Aedes species mosquitoes, including Aedes aegypti, which is found in the US Virgin Islands. These mosquitoes like to bite during the day.

There is no vaccine to prevent the disease or specific antiviral treatment. Symptoms usually begin 3–7 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito and may include fever with severe joint pains (often in the hands and feet), headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, or rash.

Plaskett added, “The department of health’s ‘Fight the Bite Campaign’ has in the past focused on dengue, the most common mosquito-borne disease in the Virgin Islands. We now add another focus, chikungunya.”

All residents and visitors are urged to protect themselves against mosquito bites.

Guidelines provided by the CDC include:

  •  use of insect repellent (with products containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, or oil of eucalyptus and para-menthane diol as an active ingredient),
  •  wear long sleeves and long pants when possible, and
  • use mosquito proof screens on windows and doors.

Residents should also take special precautions to reduce mosquito breeding areas in and around dwellings, residences, and businesses. These precautions include:

  •  emptying standing water from containers, and
  •  keeping tires in a dry place or punch holes in them so the water drains out.

Department of health medical director, Dr Marc Jerome, highlighted, “People experiencing symptoms of chikungunya should see a doctor. Healthcare providers should watch for other possible cases of chikungunya. People at increased risk for severe symptoms include newborns exposed during delivery, older adults (>65 years) and people with medical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease.

Chikungunya is reportable by law and all confirmed or suspected cases must be reported to the health department

Source: caribbean news

New robotic surgical institute opens in the Dominican Republic

This week the Metropolitan Hospital of Santiago (HOMS), in the Dominican Republic, opened the first robotic surgery institute in the Caribbean. Named for Dr. David Samadi, a pioneer in robotic prostate surgery and member of the Fox News Medical A-Team, it is sure to draw patients from the United States as well from the Caribbean and South America.

Nearly one million Americans seek health care outside the U.S. every year. Medical tourism is increasingly popular in the Caribbean both in terms of its high quality, cost savings of up to 75 percent, and of course, you can’t beat the beautiful surroundings. The Dominican Republic has long been a tourist destination known for its inexpensive plastic surgery and dental procedures.

Now you can add to that the state-of-the-art Davinci robot which is like at avatar where the surgeon uses precision robotic arms to perform delicate procedures. Recovery with this kind of surgery is remarkable – you can get in and out of the hospital in a day. At a time when America is debating its health care future, our latest and greatest technology is still being exported.

Dominican Republic President Danilo Medina is opening the new facility along with Dr. Raphael Sanchez Espanol, CEO of HOMS hospital and, himself, a renowned surgeon.

“You’re going to change the lives of many, many people out there, and to be part of the first robotic institute in the Caribbean, this is a huge blessing and for the humanitarian part… for us to be part of this we’re very proud,” said Dr. David Samadi, chairman of urology and chief of robotic surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

The institute will include treatment of prostate, kidney, gynecologic and surgical cases. Doctors operating in the Dominican Republic will now be able to use techniques developed by Samadi, who performed the country’s first procedure, to treat prostate cancer as well as other delicate surgeries in a safer, more effective manner with minimal blood loss.

“Big decisions have transformed into small decisions,” said Dr. Espanol. “I like to say, with less trauma – the less trauma facilitates an amazing recovery of the sick.”

“This is a huge step in this country and it’s going to bring a lot of patients from the entire Caribbean to this hospital,” Samadi said.

And beyond the Caribbean, with more and more regulations and restrictions coming our way on American soil, many patients will look elsewhere for their surgeries. The new David Samadi Robotic Institute is one of the places they will be looking.

Source: Fox news