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Pediatric Disease Detective Sees Big Needs and Doctor Shortages in the Valley

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As cold and flu season ramps up, Dr. Chokechai Rongkavilit, known as Dr. Chai to patients and colleagues, knows he’ll be called to help tell the difference between these and coronavirus.

“The symptoms are very similar so it will be difficult to tell. We can’t know if they have a stuffy nose, fever, headache, which one it is,” he explained. “And with children we are seeing more gastro-intestinal symptoms like diarrhea with COVID.”

As a pediatric infectious disease specialist Dr. Chai often acts as a disease detective when symptoms are odd, unexplained or reoccurring. There’s only 1,500 doctors like him nationwide and only a handful in the Valley. “I take care of children and teens with any kind of infection. It can be bacterial, it can be a virus or it can be fungus or a parasite,” he explained.

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