PAHO trains health professionals to better detect, treat Zika-related illnesses
10 Views no discussions Tweet Share Sharing is caring! HealthLifestyleNewsRegional PAHO trains health professionals to better detect, treat Zika-related illnesses by: Caribbean Media Corporation – September 2, 2016 Share Share BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) — Caribbean health professionals are ending a two-day workshop here on Friday on the clinical management of severe neurological complications related to Zika virus, such as Guillain-Barré syndrome.“The workshop aims to build the capacity of health professionals in the Caribbean so that they are better prepared to detect and treat patients with Guillain-Barré Syndrome,” said Godfrey Xuereb, Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) representative in Barbados and Eastern Caribbean countries.Based on scientific research, PAHO said there is a consensus that the Zika virus can trigger Guillain-Barré syndrome.PAHO has said that 45 countries in the Americas, including the Caribbean, have reported transmission of the disease since the Zika virus was detected in Brazil in May 2015.PAHO said several countries have reported severe neurological cases associated with infection by the virus, mainly transmitted by the bite of an infected aedes aegypti mosquito.Since June 2016, the number of cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome has been increasing in the Caribbean.For this reason, PAHO said it is working to expand and strengthen the professional capacity to provide adequate medical attention to these cases.PAHO said new World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines for clinical management of patients with Guillain-Barré syndrome will be outlined in the meeting, focusing on practical approaches to implementation in different countries.PAHO said participants in the workshop are expected to return home and lead the process of developing locally adapted protocols to improve the clinical management of severe neurological cases involving Zika virus in their countries.Guillain-Barré syndrome is a rare condition in which the patient’s immune system attacks the peripheral nerves.PAHO said people of all ages can be affected, but added that it is most common in adults and males.In 20 per cent to 25 per cent of cases, PAHO said the chest muscles are affected, making breathing difficult. The majority of those affected, even the most severely, fully recover, PAHO said.“We’ve brought experts at the highest level so that Caribbean clinicians are better prepared to provide the care required for a person with a severe neurological disorder,” said Pilar Ramón Pardo, PAHO’s chief of operations for the Zika Emergency Response.“These patients represent the most severe cases of infection Zika. They require a complex level of attention and care to prevent complications and speed their recovery.”PAHO said the experts participating in the workshop include neuro-epidemiologist James Sejvar, of the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and neurologist Javier Carod-Artal, of the NHS Highland Raigmore Hospital, Inverness, United Kingdom. Both are members of the group that developed the WHO guidelines.Also teaching are: Dr Rodrigo Salinas, of the University of Chile, who has extensive experience in neurological complications due to Zika virus, and Professor Federico Montero, a specialist in physical medicine and rehabilitation at the University of Costa Rica, who addresses the key issues in patient improvement and recovery.The workshop is part of a series of training activities initiated in May this year, where health professionals from 16 Caribbean countries were oriented in the clinical management of Zika virus infection during pregnancy, PAHO said.