Johns Hopkins Medicine has opened a new centre to provide comprehensive care to patients infected with the Zika virus.
The Wilmer Eye Institute, which treats eye concerns associated with Zika virus, led the development of the new Johns Hopkins Wilmer Zika Center.
Said to be the first of its type, the multidisciplinary Zika centre has been developed in collaboration between the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, the Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Brazilian ophthalmology community.
In addition to taking care of patients with Zika virus, and infants with virus-related congenital defects, the centre will conduct research to identify effective therapies and ways to minimise transmission of the virus.
Johns Hopkins Wilmer Eye Institute ophthalmology associate professor William May said: “Patients will no longer be required to travel to multiple centres for care relating to Zika virus.
“Physicians and staff members in various departments at Johns Hopkins will be available to provide comprehensive care to patients within one institution.”
The centre comprises specialists from epidemiology, infectious diseases, maternal-fetal medicine, ophthalmology, orthopaedics, pediatrics, physiotherapy, psychiatry and social work. Medical experts from Brazil are also members of the centre.
The Zika virus is said to cause microcephaly, a birth defect that affects the brain.
A recent study conducted in Brazil revealed that the virus also causes eye abnormalities in up to more than half of babies infected with the illness.
Image: The aedes aegypti mosquito can spread Zika fever virus. Photo: courtesy of James Gathany.