BU professor tackles disease, uses experience as teaching tool - WBNG.com: Binghamton-area News, Weather, Sports

BU professor tackles disease, uses experience as teaching tool

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VESTAL (WBNG) -- Binghamton University Decker School of Nursing Associate Clinical Professor Laura Terriquez-Kasey is speaking out about an ironic health twist in her life.

The same disease she teaches her students about ended up in her body. 

Terriquez-Kasey has been a professor at the university for nearly two decades and for fourteen of those years she's taught a class about Community Health in the Dominican Republic. 

"To teach them some form of cultural diversity and to also look at the piece of public health in other areas and other countries," said Kasey. 

Every two years she and a group of students travel to the Dominican Republic. 

The group works in clinics and hospitals in the area to help treat sick people.

Three years ago, there was a chikungunya outbreak in the country. 

"We had students down there in 2014 and we were all working rather diligently at trying to spray ourselves down and making sure we were protecting ourselves," she added.

She came home from her trip to the Dominican Republic and wasn't feeling well. 

She found out she contracted the viral infection transmitted by mosquitoes, chikungunya. 

"I had a little bit of an outbreak of a rash," she said. "Not much of anything dramatic. But I also had the bones really hurting me. My arthritis flared up rather badly. So I was quite aware that oh my goodness this could be the chikungunya."

It's the same disease she taught her students to avoid.

But there is a silver lining. She now uses her experience with the disease as a teaching tool. 

"The concern that I have is that my students take the message home," she added. "That preventing is the most important thing when you have a disease outbreak like that."

Terriquez-Kasey says she plans on going back to the Dominican Republic with a group of students in 2019. 

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