This Virtual Patients lesson is relevant for medical students and professionals working in health care. In this lesson, you are a family doctor in Toronto, Canada. It is March 17, 2003, a regular patient, a 54-year-old woman recently lost her elderly mother (78) who had only just returned from visiting family in Hong Kong. She fell ill abruptly and died just two days after returning from her trip complaining of fever, sore throat, myalgias, anorexia, and a productive cough. Your patient complains of fever, dry cough, shortness of breath, diarrhea, and malaise. Two other family members have similar symptoms. Your patient might have caught the infection while caring for her mother. What tests would you suggest? Other family members got the same symptoms. Can you give a definition of an outbreak? Do you decide to inform the public health department? Any idea about a case definition? What are further steps to avoid further dissemination? How to enhance surveillance systems to assess the spread of the virus? The epidemic curve by the source of exposure is shown. Defining an incubation period is essential. What are advantages and disadvantages while deciding on a longer period? One possible location for the dissemination is a hospital. Many questions arise. What is the difference between isolation and quarantine? Is this a work-related disease? If water is not available for handwashing, what can be used?
The lesson contains 16 cards, which guide you through subsequent phases of the outbreak. The cards provide descriptive texts, chest x-ray photos, statistic overviews, definitions, charts, expert comments, questions, and feedback. Often, cards present a question. After sending an answer, feedback is given. After passing all cards, you will get a red or green mark (enough correct answers). If you are following a regular course in Munich, a tutor can give comments. The lesson is in English, Spanish, and German.
The series of medical cases for medical students and physicians-in-training for Occupational Medicine has been developed by the Institute and Clinic for Occupational, Social and Environmental Medicine at the LMU university (Munich, Germany), often with the help of other institutes. The cases, developed in 2006-2013, are still present-day in many countries, and useful for education. Nevertheless, cases might be not up-to-date or valid everywhere, for example regarding diagnostic procedures, risk assessment tools, therapeutic interventions, or figures like incidence rates. Differences may be caused by differences in time periods, contextual conditions, or populations. Discussion about such aspects in a group, with a colleague, or with a teacher, is an essential part of the learning experience.
Practical. Clicking the link below connects to the Casus website. Make an account going to ‘Register’. Use your e-mail address as LOGIN, fill in a personal password. When registration is completed, LOGIN again, select if needed the English language (see, under your name, ‘Options’, ‘Language). Go to ‘Player’, you see ‘Courses available’, select ‘Virtualpatient-Work.Net – English course’. Select this case. You can complete a case once. Changing answers after completing is not possible.