Public Health Advisory

Update on Zika Virus

Advisory No. 4 | Aug. 9, 2016

Florida Atlantic University has been working in coordination with local, state and federal entities to ensure the safety of the University community and is taking any necessary steps to address this important concern as it impacts our service areas. In response to the Florida Department of Health's (FDOH) recent finding of a non-travel case of the virus in one of FAU’s service areas, the University is stepping up its efforts to educate and protect the community:

The University community is urged to adhere to the following recommendations:

  • Appropriate Protective Actions include
    • Avoid outdoor activities one hour before and one hour after dusk and dawn
    • Wear protective clothing such as long pants, long sleeved shirts, socks and shoes when mosquitos present.
    • Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registered insect repellents and follow manufacturer’s directions.
    • Repair torn screening on windows, porches and doors
  • Pregnant women: Pregnant women, or those considering pregnancy, are strongly encouraged to review the CDC Zika Virus Information for Pregnant Women website.
    • Create a Zika Virus Prevention Kit.
    • Refrain from travel through areas with local Zika transmission. Review the CDC Travel Restriction and Protective Action Guidance.
    • If traveling to an area identified as having local transmission, ensure steps are taken to avoid mosquito bites and the potential for transmission through unprotected sexual intercourse.
  • Standing/Collecting Water: Environmental Health and Safety and Facilities Management staff are working to identify areas of pooling/standing water and draining these areas.
    • Please drain containers of standing water where mosquitos can lay eggs. A capful is enough to encourage breeding.
    • Please report areas of standing water or any type of containers collecting water by submitting a work order (under “Grounds” then “Standing/Collecting Water”) or calling your respective campus’ work control office.
  • Students: Visit the FAU’s Student Health Services page.
  • Events and Activities: Please use appropriate protective actions when engaging in outdoor activities, including, but is not limited to: Daycare, K-12 & camp outdoor activities, outdoor events, athletic events and practices, work, research or study performed outdoors.
  • Traveling to areas affected by Zika: CDC has issued travel notices for countries and areas of South Florida affected by the illness. FAU students, staff and faculty traveling to these areas should consider the risks and seek advice from their medical doctor if there are health related concerns.

Symptoms and Transmission: Only about 1 in 5 people infected with Zika virus exhibit symptoms. Zika fever is a mild illness. Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon. Signs and symptoms of Zika fever may include: acute onset of low-grade fever, rash, joint pain, conjunctivitis (reddening of eye), body aches, headache, eye pain, and vomiting. Treatment is based on symptoms since there is no specific treatment against the virus. Illness typically resolves within a week. The real danger applies to pregnant women who acquire the virus. Zika has been linked to microcephaly (a serious birth defect in which babies are born with an unusually small head and underdeveloped brain) and problems in infants, including eye defects, hearing loss, and impaired growth. Sexual transmission of the virus from men to women has been reported and represents another potential threat to women of childbearing age. Currently there is no vaccine or medicine to treat the illness.

Information Resources and Tools Further information can be obtain from the following links. In addition, there is a Zika Virus Information Hotline 1-855-622-6735 for Florida residents to speak to a Healthcare Professional. Please contact Environmental Health and Safety at 561-297-3129 or Student Health Services 561-297-3512 if you have any questions or concerns.

We will continue to keep you updated on this matter.


Zika Information

In an effort to keep the University community safe and aware about the status of the Zika virus, this is an update on the Governor of Florida public health emergency for the Zika virus. Zika illness is caused by a mosquito-borne vector similar to those that cause Dengue, West Nile and other infections. People can also get Zika through sex with an infected man and the virus can also be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus.

For up-to-date information, visit the University safty web page.


CDC issues travel guidance related to Miami neighborhood with active Zika spread

8/2/2016

New assessments of mosquito populations and test results this past weekend by Florida public health officials, as part of a community survey in the Miami neighborhood where several Zika infections were recently confirmed, have found persistent mosquito populations and additional Zika infections in the same area. This information suggests that there is a risk of continued active transmission of Zika virus in that area. As a result, CDC and Florida are issuing travel, testing and other recommendations for people who traveled to or lived in the Florida-designated areas on or after June 15, 2016, the earliest known date that one of the people could have been infected with Zika. At Florida’s request, CDC is also sending a CDC Emergency Response Team (CERT) with experts in Zika virus, pregnancy and birth defects, vector control, laboratory science, and risk communications to assist in the response. Two CDC team members are already on the ground in Florida, three more will arrive today, and three more on Tuesday, August 2.

CDC recommends:

  • Pregnant women not travel to the identified area.
  • Pregnant women and their partners living in this area should consistently follow steps to prevent mosquito bites and sexual transmission of Zika.
  • Pregnant women who traveled to this area on or after June 15, 2016, should talk with their healthcare provider and should be tested for Zika.
  • Pregnant women without symptoms of Zika who live in or frequently travel to this area should be tested for Zika virus infection in the first and second trimesters of pregnancy.
  • Male and female sexual partners of pregnant women who live in or who have traveled to this area should consistently and correctly use condoms or other barriers against infection during sex or abstain from sex for the duration of the pregnancy.
  • All pregnant women in the United States who live in or travel to an area with active Zika virus transmission, or who have sex with a partner who lives in or traveled to an area with active Zika virus transmission without using condoms or other barrier methods to prevent infection should be assessed for possible Zika virus exposure during each prenatal care visit and tested according to CDC guidance.
  • Women and men who traveled to this area wait at least 8 weeks before trying for a pregnancy; men with symptoms of Zika wait at least 6 months before trying for a pregnancy.
  • Women and men who live in or frequently travel to this area who do not have signs or symptoms consistent with Zika virus disease and are considering pregnancy should consider the risks associated with Zika virus infection, and may wish to consult their healthcare provider to help inform their decisions about timing of pregnancy.
  • Anyone with possible exposure to Zika virus and symptoms of Zika should be tested for Zika.

“We work closely with Florida to gather and analyze new information every day. With the new information that there are active mosquitoes still in the area and additional Zika infections, we conclude that pregnant women should avoid this area – and make every effort to prevent mosquito bites if they live or work there,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “We apply the same criteria within and outside of the United States, and are working closely with the State of Florida and Miami health departments to provide preventive services, including mosquito control.”

CDC continues to encourage everyone living in areas with Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes, especially pregnant women and women planning to become pregnant, to protect themselves from mosquito bites. Apply insect repellent containing DEET to uncovered skin, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, use or repair screens on windows and doors, use air conditioning when available, and remove standing water where mosquitoes lay eggs.

“We continue to work closely with Florida public health officials to investigate the infections identified in Miami and to intensify mosquito control efforts to reduce the risk of additional infections,” said Lyle R. Petersen, M.D., M.P.H., incident manager for CDC’s Zika Response and director, Division of Vector-Borne Diseases. “Florida officials are experienced in this type of work, and together we are working to protect pregnant women from the potentially devastating effects of this virus.”

Based on the confirmation of local Zika transmission in Florida, CDC has updated its Interim Zika Response Plan (CONUS and HI) and has released theZika Community Action Response Toolkit (Z-CART) to help states with risk communication and community engagement when local transmission is identified.

For more information about Zika: cdc.gov/zika

Robert Dollinger, M.D.
Acting Chief Medical Officer
Student Health Services
Florida Atlantic University

 Last Modified 11/9/16