From: Rhode Island Department of Health
Date: March 10, 2016
Re: Message for students regarding Zika virus
With spring break quickly approaching, we realize that colleges and universities may have may have short-term educational or volunteer trips planned to areas with active mosquito-borne transmission of Zika virus. In addition, many of these areas are popular destinations for spring break vacations.
People most at risk for developing complications from Zika virus are women who are pregnant or who plan on becoming pregnant. Of individuals who may be infected with Zika virus, 80% will not have symptoms and will not know they are infected. Symptoms of Zika virus are fever, rash, joint pain, headache, muscle pain, and conjunctivitis (pink eye).
Following is a list of messages that can be shared with students, faculty, and staff before spring break and a list of available online informational resources. We have highlighted the messages that may be more relevant for people who have travel plans in the coming weeks.
General messaging about Zika virus (as of March 9, 2016)
- Any woman who is pregnant should consider deferring travel to areas with active mosquito-borne transmission of Zika virus.
- Any male who travels to areas with active mosquito-borne transmission of Zika virus and has a sexual partner who is pregnant should use a condom for vaginal/oral/anal sex or abstain from sex for the duration of the pregnancy.
- Anyone who travels to areas with active mosquito-borne transmission of Zika virus should follow mosquito-bite prevention tips: use and EPA-approved bug spray with at least 20% DEET, sleep under a mosquito net, and try to stay inside in air-conditioned buildings.
- Symptoms of Zika virus are fever, rash, joint pain, headache, muscle pain, and conjunctivitis (pink eye).
- Symptoms typically appear within three to 14 days of infection. Only one in five people infected with Zika virus become ill. Anyone who has traveled to areas with active mosquito-borne transmission of Zika virus and develops symptoms of Zika virus should contact their healthcare provider.
- 80% of individuals infected with Zika virus will not have any symptoms.
- There are no vaccines or medications to prevent or treat Zika virus infection.
- As of March 9, 2016, there are no confirmed cases of Zika virus in Rhode Island; however, we do expect to see a confirmed, travel-acquired case in the coming weeks.
- In Rhode Island, Zika virus is considered to be travel-acquired. This means that if we have a case, it will probably be because someone contracted the virus in another area and then traveled to Rhode Island.
- There have been some documented cases of sexual transmission.
- The link between Zika virus and microcephaly has not been proven. The CDC is studying this.
- The species of mosquito that carry Zika virus are not known to be in Rhode Island at any time of year.
- The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has advised that anyone who travels to areas with active mosquito-borne transmission of Zika must wait four weeks after return from travel to donate blood.
- RIDOH has established an internal Zika Virus Task Force to maintain coordinated and organized messaging and situational awareness.
Connect with us:
Rhode Island Department of Health
Three Capitol Hill
Providence, Rhode Island 02908-5097
Health Information Line: 401-222-5960
/ RI Relay 711www.health.ri.gov