Patel & Patel Complete Infectious Disease Program


Established in 2008, PULSE is the Penn State College of Medicine’s educational outreach program for high school students who are passionate about the biomedical sciences. The PULSE program is a semester long academic course taught at the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. PULSE aims to cultivate interest in medicine, biomedical science, and healthcare systems science by introducing passionate learners to medical students, biomedical researchers, and practicing clinicians.

Two MAHS students, Richa Patel (Class of 2018) and Aayushi Patel (Class of 2019), completed the PULSE course during the Fall 2017 semester. Richa and Aayushi were grouped with other students from area High Schools. Each group was assigned a specific infectious disease to research, study and present as a final project. The Patels, who are not related, describe their projects below.

Patel.Richa Patel.Aayushi
“My group (Delta) researched on one of the virus called West Nile Virus. West Nile Virus is a member of flavivirus genus and is similar to many other mosquito-borne virus. The West Nile Virus belongs to the Japanese encephalitis antigenic complex of the family Flavivridae. West Nile Virus was introduced into Europe by bird migration. The largest outbreaks occurred in Greece, Israel, Romania, Russia, and the USA. We researched on various factors related to the West Nile Virus. We researched on the risk factors of the virus, pathology of the West Nile Virus, its symptoms, origin, economic cost, current research that’s going on the West Nile Virus, treatment, public health protocol, and what should be done to prevent the spread of the virus.” ~ Richa Patel “In PULSE, we have a final project. Since this year’s PULSE topic focused on Infectious Diseases, each group was allowed to choose a disease from an already approved list. The groups were decided on the first day of PULSE, and these are the groups we are always with for group work. My group decided to choose Chikungunya Virus which is a mosquito borne virus similar to Dengue. This virus is transmitted by the same mosquitoes that transmit Dengue, and its similarity to Dengue is the reason behind many Chikungunya cases being misdiagnosed as Dengue. In the project, we learned that a risk factor for Chikungunya is being near mosquito breeding sites. Chikungunya outbreaks usually occur in Africa, Asia, and the Indian subcontinent, but the American continent and Europe are both susceptible of the disease because of travel of the infected patients. Chikungunya, in Swahili and Makonde, refers to the joint swelling that occurs giving the infected a stooped down posture. A lot about the virus and the pathophysiology of the virus remains to be investigated, and there is a vaccine that is being tested. There is no current treatment for the disease itself, but there is treatment for the symptoms. As of now, most cases of transmission are from mosquitoes. The diagnosis requires serological and virological tests to avoid misdiagnosis. Unfortunately, there are chances of a pandemic as every inhabited continent except for Australia is susceptible to this virus and not much is known about it. We concluded that more research needs to be done in regards to the virus, it’s pathophysiology, and the vaccine that is being tested. We also concluded that the population should be more educated on this virus, so we know what it entails as we have chances of this disease becoming a pandemic.” ~ Aayushi Patel



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