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The Unfortunate Nurse
A Case Study of Dengue Fever and Social Policy
Karen M. Aguirre
Dengue (pronounced "deng-ee") is a viral disease transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito, usually Aedes aegypti. It is common in tropical regions, especially Southeast Asia, India, South and Central America, and Mexico. There is concern that as tourism and modern travel shrink the planet to create a "global village," dengue could emerge as a major health problem and societal burden. This case study introduces students to "emerging pathogens" and other concepts in parasitology, immunology, epidemiology, and public policy by examining an actual incident in which dengue virus was transmitted by an accidental needlestick. Several activities are involved, including analysis of primary literature, in-class reading of scripted dialogue, creation of PowerPoint presentations, and design of short educational brochures on dengue. Students also learn about two modern techniques widely used in medical and research settings (i.e., EIA and Taqman RT-PCR). The case is suitable for general education biology, cell biology, microbiology, immunology, and science and public policy courses.
|Keywords:||Dengue virus; breakbone disease; mosquito vector; Aedes aegypti; nosocomial infection; needlestick; emerging pathogens; immigration and disease; enzyme-linked-immunoabsorbent assay; EIA, ELISA, RT-PCR|
|Topical Area:||Ethics, Policy issues, Social justice issues|
|Educational Level:||High school, Undergraduate lower division, Undergraduate upper division|
|Type/Method:||Journal Article, Role-Play, Student Presentations|
|Subject Headings:||Public Health Nursing Epidemiology Microbiology Cell Biology Biology (General)|
|Copyright:||Copyright held by the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science, University at Buffalo, State University of New York. Please see our usage guidelines, which outline our policy concerning permissible reproduction of this work.|
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