Concern in Haiti over emerging condition linked to Zika

MIREBALAIS, Haiti (AP) —Doctors and scientists are bracing for the possibility of a wave of rare disorders triggered by Zika in an impoverished country that has faced one public health crisis after another and is fertile ground for mosquito-borne scourges.

Zika causes mild symptoms such as rash and fever in most people, but when Brazil reported outbreaks for the first time last year, doctors saw a dramatic increase in Guillain-Barre and a severe birth defect called microcephaly resulting in infants with abnormally small heads. The World Health Organization says there is now scientific consensus that Zika is a cause of both disorders.

Haiti’s health ministry has reported no cases of microcephaly but 11 cases of Guillain-Barre, including two definitively linked to Zika by lab tests. But the extent of Haiti’s Zika outbreak and the number of accompanying neurological disorders is a big unknown.

“Haiti is a bit of a black box and I’m not sure anyone has their arms around what’s really happening currently,” said Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Texas.

Rubio speaks to Miami high school students, celebrates importance of Haitian culture

MIAMI (WSVN) – Florida Senator Marco Rubio took part in Haitian Heritage Month, Monday morning.

Rubio spoke with students at Miami Edison Senior High School, pointing out the current political situation in Haiti and what South Floridians can do to help.

“I kind of want to leave you with the belief I hope you already have,” said Rubio. “that right now, where you stand in your life, there’s nothing outside of your reach … The decisions you are making right now will matter.”

The topic of Senator Rubio’s appearance was the importance of celebrating Haitian culture.

Haitian woman visits hospital where doctors rebuilt her face

MIAMI (AP) — A Haitian woman who attracted widespread media attention 10 years ago for a 16-pound facial growth says she’d now like to work as a reporter, too.

The Miami Herald reports that Marlie Casseus recently returned to Jackson Memorial Hospital with about 150 Haitian nurses to celebrate National Nurses Week.

Casseus is now 23. Speaking through an interpreter, she said she wanted to join the reporters who chronicled her medical journey.

Casseus has a rare disorder that causes bone to swell and become jelly-like. Doctors rebuilt her face after removing the growth that nearly killed her.

She’s had roughly 10 surgeries since 2005. The hospital’s International Kids Fund and a local charity have raised funds for her care here.

Casseus’ recovery in Haiti sometimes hit setbacks, including the 2010 earthquake that destroyed her special-needs school.

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