Zika healthcare workers
Zika healthcare workersReuters

OnCourse Learning, an e-learning portal, has launched an online Zika course named "Zika: The Pandemic Threat" for health care workers. The course would educate the workers about the signs, symptoms and impact of the Zika virus. At a time when the Zika virus has affected nearly 52 countries, governments have initiated educational programmes to raise awareness about the virus.

OnCourse Learning's online course aims to raise global awareness about Zika and educate health professionals on emerging studies and discoveries to help tackle the disease. 

The course would be available for health care workers on nurse.com, an online health portal of OnCourse Learning. The paid online course has also been made available at continuing education.com for dieticians, pharmacists, health educators and physicians, an official statement said. 

It said the course will also be made available for the laboratory professionals and respiratory therapists.

"It is critical for these professionals who have interactions with significant patient populations to have access to up-to-date information. They are on the frontlines for case identification," Robert Hess, executive vice-president, OnCourse Learning, said. 

He said since Zika is an emerging and fast spreading disease, we cannot afford to remain unaware about it. 

Catherine J.Swift, a co-author of the course, said it is pertinent for health care workers, especially those dealing with Zika patients, to stay updated with the discoveries of pathogens, genetic illnesses, diagnostic methods, treatment protocols and pharmaceuticals, and the relationship between these.

"This means that keeping current in your field is more important than ever," she said.

"Our inter-professional continuing education provides an encompassing view of several health disciplines working together to provide patient care in a given set of circumstances. Our users are able to see the big picture, and they are in it," she added.

The Zika virus, transmitted by the mosquito Aedes Aegypti, is suspected to cause two neurological disorders -- microcephaly and Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS). 

The U.S. and Brazil have reportedly undertaken a joint research to study the link of Zika to microcephaly. 

Medical journal Lancet has published a study suggesting strong links of the Zika virus to GBS.

There is no specific treatment for the Zika virus infection yet. The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared Zika as the public health emergency Feb. 1, 2016.