While the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) confirms that active virus transmission is currently limited to countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, two countries in the Pacific Islands, and Cape Verde in Africa, we are issuing this alert broadly due to the potential for continued spread of the virus. Student safety is our number one priority for all CIEE study abroad programs, and we are closely monitoring the status of the Zika virus for its possible risk to students.
At this point in time, there is no change in the status of CIEE's programs. We urge all students and parents to consult the CDC website for information and recommendations regarding the Zika virus: http://www.cdc.gov/zika/index.html.
According to the CDC:
• About one in five people infected with Zika will get sick. For people who get sick, the illness is usually mild, so many people might not realize they have been infected.
• Symptoms last for several days to a week.
• The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes).
• There have been reports of a serious birth defect of the brain called microcephaly and other poor pregnancy outcomes in babies of mothers who were infected with the Zika virus while pregnant.
Students with specific health questions should contact their health care providers.
CIEE staff has been informed about the virus and have reinforced messaging to students upon arrival at their host cities about the critical need for proper mosquito protection and prevention techniques.
The CDC has issued a Level 2 alert for the virus, which recommends travelers to affected areas "practice enhanced precautions." In the case of Zika, this means travelers should protect themselves against mosquito bites.
Among the CDC's recommendations for protection against mosquito bites are to:
• Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
• Stay in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.
• Sleep under a mosquito bed net if you are overseas or outside and are not able to protect yourself from mosquito bites.
• Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents. All EPA-registered insect repellents are evaluated for effectiveness.
• Treat clothing and gear with permethrin or purchase permethrin-treated items.
The CDC also recommends special precautions for pregnant women and women trying to become pregnant:
• Pregnant women in any trimester should consider postponing travel to the areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing. Pregnant women who must travel to one of these areas should talk to their doctors or other health care providers first and strictly follow steps to avoid mosquito bites during the trip.
• Women trying to become pregnant should consult with their health care providers before traveling to these areas and strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during the trip.
For updates and additional information, please monitor the CDC's webpage on the Zika virus. Additional information can also be found on the World Health Organization's website: http://www.who.int/.
We will continue to keep you informed of developments as needed. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to call us at 1-800-40-STUDY.