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Zika Virus in South Carolina

According to the CDC, as of July 3, 2018 there have been 28 cases of Zika reported in the United States, and none reported in South Carolina. In all 28 cases, the patients with Zika were returning home from traveling in affected areas, not from mosquito-borne transmission in the US. SCDHEC also confirms that there have been zero Zika cases reported in South Carolina in 2018.

Protecting Yourself from Zika

While the threat of Zika is lower in 2018 than previous years, it is still important to understand your risks and know how to protect yourself – especially if you plan on traveling to an affected area.

The Zika virus is mainly spread though mosquito bites. Zika can spread from a pregnant mother to her baby during pregnancy or birth, and cases of transmission through blood transfusion and sexual contact have been reported.

Protecting yourself from mosquitos is the best way to prevent Zika:

  • Use insect repellent
  • Wear clothes than cover the arms and legs
  • Use screens on windows and doors
  • Use air conditioning if available
  • Sleep under a mosquito net if outdoors or air conditioned/screened rooms are not possible
  • Empty items that hold water at least once a week (buckets, pools, pots, other containers)

When traveling to areas inside or outside of the US, know your risks before you go:

  • Review the CDC’s list of areas with Zika risk
  • Talk with your doctor about your travel plans
  • Talk with your partner about travel plans and Zika risk (especially for women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant), use condoms or don’t have sex to avoid getting or spreading the Zika virus

Zika Symptoms

The most common Zika symptoms are generally mild, including fever, rash, headache, joint pain, red eyes, and muscle pain. People typically do not need to go to the hospital with a Zika infection, because they likely do not even realize they’ve been infected. For pregnant women, Zika can cause a birth defect called microcephaly and other severe brain defects in unborn children. Learn more about Zika and Pregnancy from the CDC.

If you have traveled to an area with risk of Zika and are feeling similar symptoms, it is important to be tested by your doctor.

MUSC Health Doctors Near You in Charleston, SC

If you are concerned about upcoming travel or have Zika symptoms, schedule an appointment with your primary care doctor, ob/gyn, or talk with the MUSC Health Travel Medicine care team. Our women's health and primary care physicians are available in locations throughout the Lowcountry.





6 Steps to Healthier Kidneys

Step 1 - Know the Facts:

6 things healthy kidneys do: 

  • Regulate the body’s fluid level
  • Filter wastes and toxins from the blood
  • Release a hormone that regulates blood pressure
  • Activate Vitamin D to maintain healthy bones
  • Release the hormone that directs production of RBC
  • Keep blood minerals in balance (Na, Phos, K)

8 Problems Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) can cause:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Heart attack and stroke
  • High blood pressure
  • Weak bones
  • Nerve damage (neuropathy)
  • Kidney failure (ESRD)
  • Anemia
  • Death

Step 2 - Assess your Risk: 

  • 4 Main Risk Factors:  Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, Cardiovascular Disease, Family History of Kidney Disease/Diabetes/High Blood Pressure
  • 10 Additional Risk Factors: African American Heritage, Native American Heritage, Hispanic, Asian or Pacific Islander Heritage, Age >60, Obesity, Low Birth Weight, Prolonged use of NSAIDs, Lupus and Other Autoimmune Disorders, Chronic UTIs, Kidney Stones

Step 3 - Possible Trouble Signs:

Most people with early CKD have no symptoms, which is why early testing is critical. By the time symptoms appear, CKD may be advanced, and symptoms can be misleading. Pay attention to these:  fatigue/weakness, difficult/painful urination, foamy urine, pink or dark urine, increased need to urinate, puffy eyes, swollen face/hands/abdomen/ankles/feet, increased thirst.

Step 4 - Get Tested:

4 Simple Tests: Blood Pressure, Protein in the Urine, Creatinine in Blood, Glomerular Filtration Rate

Step 5 - Stay Healthy:

6 Things People with CKD should do: 

  • Lower high blood pressure
  • Keep blood sugar levels under control, if diabetic
  • Reduce salt intake
  • Avoid NSAIDs (painkillers such as ibuprofen and naproxen)
  • Moderate protein consumption
  • Get an annual flu shot

9 Things Everyone should do:

  • Exercise regularly
  • Control weight
  • Follow a balanced diet
  • Quit smoking
  • Drink only in moderation
  • Stay hydrated
  • Monitor cholesterol levels
  • Get an annual physical
  • Know your family medical history

Step 6 - Learn More:

  • Do you need a kidney health check? KEEP HEALTHY- NKF offers free kidney health checks in communities across the country.  A screening will be offered in Charleston on Sat, March 20th from 9am-1pm at Mt. Moria Baptist Church in North Charleston.
  • To learn more about CKD risk factors, prevention and treatment, visit

Guest Post by:

Tina Brown

I’m Tina Brown, the school nurse at Hemingway Elementary School.  I just discovered a way to solve this problem.  It’s called the South Carolina Telehealth Alliance, a collaboration of academic medical centers, community hospitals and local providers delivering care in the school setting.

By connecting the brightest minds from across the state and bringing together innovative resources and scientific breakthroughs, every child can receive access to care – when and where they need it most.  Instead of asking for a day off work and making the long trip to a physician’s office in a neighboring city, parents need only sign the consent forms for telehealth and their child will be seen during school hours. During a telehealth session, the child is at my side as I call in a provider from MUSC Children’s Hospital or the local community for a teleconsult. I can use special instruments - a digital stethoscope, a digital otoscope and an exam cam - to transmit high definition images and audio. The provider sees what I see and hears what I hear. The child’s parent is called and invited to participate in the visit over the phone, and the child’s primary care provider is apprised of the consult. Although rashes and infections are common reasons for teleconsults, the services can also support children with more serious conditions, ensuring that children with asthma, for example, are using their inhalers correctly. 

Watch the video below to see how we use Telehealth in Hemingway.

Learn more about how telehealth is improving health care access for children across South Carolina.


MUSC Health is preparing to start seeing candidates for adult heart transplant surgery after the program has been on a break since May.

As reported by the Post & Courier, Dr. Pat Cawley announced the news to the MUSC Board of Trustees and indicated that particular attention will be paid to post-transplant care.

MUSC Health is the only hospital in South Carolina to offer a heart transplant program and since beginning in 1987, more than 400 heart transplants in adults and children have been performed.

MUSC Health has a dedicated children's hospital providing specialized care for pediatric transplant recipients.

For South Carolinians, whose deaths from heart disease are among the highest in the nation, a heart transplant is one of many options available at MUSC Health for successfully treating end-stage heart failure. South Carolina, is your heart in the right place? It is at MUSC Health.

The Medical University of South Carolina is the exclusive medical sponsor for the Family Circle Cup! We hope you can come out to Daniel Island as we support this event in a variety of ways. 

FCC tennis player in actionVisit the MUSC booth at the Family Circle Cup to enter to win a ride on the MUSC Health Helicopter! Watch our Twitter and Facebook for more details on how to register to win. While you are there, you can sit down for  “Ask a Doc” sessions with physicians from MUSC’s orthopaedics, plastic surgery, and neuroscience departments, participate in kids’ wellness activities, receive a skin cancer screening at the Hollings Mobile Van, or learn to surf with the hottest new “Surf Set” workout.

Don’t forget that Saturday and Sunday, March 29th and 30th is Family 
Weekend, where tickets are only $10! MUSC Health will provide fun kids’ activities, including make your own MUSC Urban Farm Garden-to-Go, and Veggie Twister.

On Monday, March 31st, don’t miss Renee Straub as she speaks at the Grand Lawn about “Skin Cancer Prevention for the Tennis Player.” On Tuesday, April 1st, the Wellness Center and Office of Health Promotion will get the crowd moving with an on-court “Boot Camp” demonstration prior to the second match at 1pm.

On Wednesday, April 2nd, come out and wear pink! MUSC is honored to sponsor “Komen Night” at 7pm, where the Family Circle Cup will donate $1 to every spectator in pink.  

And of course, throughout the entire event, MUSC Health’s sports medicine team will provide excellent care for the elite tennis pros, and our emergency medicine clinicians and MEDUCARE team will serve the participants in the first aid tent.

We hope to see you there!


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