The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Center for Global Education is aware of the ongoing outbreak of Zika virus and other mosquito-borne illnesses such as Chikungunya, and Dengue. UW-Whitewater makes the following recommendations for students studying abroad in Central and South America and the Caribbean in keeping with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations:
- All students considering studying abroad should recognize the possibility of mosquito borne viral infections, including Zika, Chikungunya, and Dengue. See:http://www.cdc.gov/ncezid/dvbd/
- Currently there is a serious and ongoing outbreak of the Zika virus, and students considering or studying abroad in Central and South America and the Caribbean should learn more about the Zika virus at: www.cdc.gov/zika/index.
- For updates on areas with ongoing Zika virus transmission see: www.cdc.gov/travel/notices
- Mosquito bite prevention is of the utmost importance for all students. Aedesspecies mosquitoes can bite during the daytime, as well as at dawn and dusk.
- Students should ask if the on-site university or program is planning for the possibility of locally-acquired Zika virus infections and ready with messages to students regarding transmission and prevention of Zika virus.
- Because there is neither a vaccine nor prophylactic medications available to prevent Zika virus infection, the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all pregnant women or women considering becoming pregnant consider postponing travel to areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing.
- Until more is known, UW-Whitewater strongly discourages pregnant women or women considering becoming pregnant in the near future from studying abroad in Central and South America and the Caribbean.
- Students studying abroad in Central and South America and the Caribbean should refrain from sexual contact while abroad until more is known about the sexual transmission of Zika virus.
- In addition, students returning from Zika affected areas should use condoms for all sexual contact.