You may have heard about the Zika virus, which has been in the news recently. In January, we sent a letter to all students studying abroad in, or adjacent to, Zika-affected countries.
With Spring Break approaching, we wanted to send information to the entire University community, particularly to those who may be traveling abroad over the break.
Areas affected by Zika
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently issued a travel alert (Level 2-Practice Enhanced Precautions) for people traveling to Mexico and some countries in the Caribbean, Central and South America. For more information regarding the CDC’s travel alert, click the link below: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices.
How the virus works
The virus is spread to humans primarily through the bite of an infected mosquito. The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week. It can also be transmitted from a pregnant mother to her baby during pregnancy or around the time of birth and has been associated with a specific kind of birth defect called microcephaly. The virus can also be spread through infected blood or sexual contact.
How to protect yourself
If you will be traveling in an area affected by Zika, you can prevent getting the virus by protecting yourself from mosquito bites. Mosquitos that spread Zika bite mostly during the daytime. Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants as much as possible. Sleep under a mosquito net if possible. Use insect repellants with one of the following ingredients: DEET, Picaridin, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus, or IR3535.
Since there have been reports of Zika spread through sexual contact, it is advised that anyone traveling in Zika-affected areas practice safe sex using condoms.
See your healthcare provider if you develop any of the Zika symptoms described above. If you have recently traveled, make sure you tell your healthcare provider when and where you traveled. Your healthcare provider may order blood tests to check for Zika. There is no vaccine or specific medication to treat Zika, but you can treat the symptoms. The CDC recommends the following:
Contact the Student Health Center at (909) 748-8021 with any questions. For further information about Zika and pregnancy, follow these links:
You can find general information about Zika and Zika prevention, at the following websites: