Boyce to Lead First Study into the Prevalence of Mosquito-Borne Viruses in Uganda

Ross Boyce, MD, MSc, will return to Uganda in July to begin his study investigating the prevalence of dengue and other mosquito-borne viruses.

Ross Boyce, MD, MSc, will return to Uganda in July to begin his study investigating the prevalence of dengue and other mosquito-borne viruses.

When you present at a clinic in Uganda with fever and muscle aches, you will be given a test for malaria. Should you test negative, you will still most likely be given antimalarial medications, which creates two problems.

“You will not get better right away, and malaria medication, which is expensive in Uganda, has been wasted,” says Ross Boyce, MD, MSc, an infectious diseases fellow at UNC. “The symptoms for malaria are similar to dengue, chikungunya and Zika, and the Aedes mosquitoes that carry these viruses are common in Uganda.”

With funding from the UNC School of Medicine’s Office of International Activities’ Global Health Scholars Program and Takeda Pharmaceutical Company, Boyce will work with colleagues at UNC and the Mbarara University of Science and Technology in Uganda to determine what proportion of febrile illness visits are attributable to these mosquito-borne diseases. People testing negative for malaria at three clinics in different regions of Uganda will undergo further testing for dengue, chikungunya and Zika in order to generate a snapshot of how common each virus is in Western Uganda.

“Zika originated in Uganda in the 1940s, and European tourists returning from Uganda have tested positive for dengue. We know these viruses are there, it’s just a matter of proving it,” said Boyce. “Without that evidence, it’s difficult to argue for any investment in better diagnostics and control programs. Given than existing malaria interventions, such a bed-nets, do work well against the outdoor and day-biting Aedes mosquitos, new approaches will be needed.”

Boyce is no stranger to improving diagnostic testing of mosquito-borne infections in Uganda. On March 8, results of his study investigating the use of a two-step diagnostic algorithm utilizing microscopy to detect P. falciparum malaria were published in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology.

Introduction to Malawi and Chichewa: A Workshop on Chichewa Language and Malawi Culture

Spring-2017-Introduction-to-Malawi-and-Chichewa-Language-WorkshopThis four-part workshop will focus on introductory Chichewa greetings and linguistics, medical interview vocabulary, and cultural sensitivity in health services for UNC students, staff and faculty planning research, service or internships in Malawi.  Workshop sessions cover elementary language construction, health and cultural training, as well as brief presentations on the history, geography, politics and economy of Malawi.  Participants will be provided soft copies of readings and basic language material. Dinner will be provided. Attendance at a minimum of 3 sessions is required.

When: Wednesdays/Thursdays – March 29 and 30, April 5 and 6 from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Location: UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, Beard Hall, Room 116

Space is limited – please register by emailing Mamie Harris at malawi@unc.edu. Also contact Mamie for additional questions or concerns.

This workshop is sponsored by the UNC African Studies Center and the UNC Institute for Global Health & Infectious Diseases.

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Dance Club Reunion Yields $3K Donation to UNC’s Hope Fund

David Currin, center, presents a check for the UNC ID Clinic's Hope Fund to the clinic's Medical Director Dr. Claire Farel.

David Currin, center, presents a check for the UNC ID Clinic’s Hope Fund to the clinic’s Medical Director Dr. Claire Farel.

Heading out for a night of dancing in downtown Durham is not the same as it was nearly 30 years ago for members of the LGBT community. Back then, club and show bar The Power Company was in its heyday as the place to hear the best DJs in the state mix dance hits and to showcase top female impersonators for weekly shows, and city and state pageants.

By 2000, The Power Company closed. But this past winter, a Facebook alumni page helped spark a reunion and fundraiser. Any money raised above the costs to hold the event was split between the Raleigh LGBT Center and the UNC Infectious Diseases Clinic’s Hope Fund.

“For many of us, The Power Company was a place of freedom in which we could be ourselves, and find ourselves. It was a place of love and acceptance in the midst of an otherwise misunderstanding world,” says David Currin, who helped organize the reunion, and who works as a nurse and researcher in the UNC Division of Infectious Diseases. “I thought of this idea to donate to the LGBT Center and the Hope Fund not just for those of us who remember the wonderful nights at the club, but also in memory of those who have gone before us, who danced with us and beside us, but who weren’t fortunate enough to live long enough to see how far we have come as a community.”

Currin presented ID Clinic Medical Director Claire Farel, MD, MPH, with a check for $3,190 to support the Hope Fund. Farel says the fund seeks to remove any obstacles to care people living with HIV face.

“The Hope Fund allows us to show patients that we see them as complete people,” says Farel. “We know that getting healthy and staying healthy involves more than just medical visits and medications. There are a lot of things in life that are difficult and stressful and the Hope Fund lets us partner with our patients in a small way to work to reduce barriers to good health. The importance of this gift cannot be understated. The Hope Fund makes an enormous difference in people’s lives and its existence represents a hand extended to our patients.”

ID Clinic social worker Ellen McAngus, LCSWA, says several dozen patients benefit from the Hope Fund annually. The money is for emergency uses only, including payment of utility bills, rent, parking fees, gas and food.

“We try to ensure that our patients’ physical needs are met so we can focus on their health care,” says McAngus. “This donation is so helpful because it replenishes this fund.”

To donate to the Hope Fund, contact the ID Clinic at 984-974-7198 and ask to speak to clinic manager or social worker. Checks should be made out to UNC Hospitals and designated for the ID Clinic Hope Fund.

Mail checks to:
Attn: UNC ID Clinic Hope Fund donations
UNC ID Clinic
101 Manning Drive
First Floor Memorial Hospital
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7030

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