Tuesday, August 23, 2016

STU Zika Preparedness and Guidelines

St. Thomas University is actively monitoring the Zika virus in our county, and working closely with local and state Department of Health officials. It is important to note that NO mosquito transmission of the Zika virus has been detected at STU or in the area of Miami Gardens as of this week.
We wanted to share some information about the Zika virus, specifically:
  • What is the Zika virus
  • How to protect yourself from Zika
  • What STU is doing to mitigate mosquitoes on campus
  • Where to seek additional information
  • Frequently asked questions
The Zika Virus
According to the CDC, the Zika virus disease is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected mosquito (Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus), but it can also be passed from one person to another through sexual contact.
The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting up to a week, and many infected people do not have symptoms. However, Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause a serious birth defect called microcephaly and other severe brain defects. No vaccines or treatments are currently available to treat or prevent Zika.
Protect yourself from Zika
Many people infected with Zika virus won’t have symptoms or will only have mild symptoms such as fever, rash, headache, and joint pain. These usually appear within a week or 10 days of having been bitten by a mosquito carrying the virus. Only about 20 percent of people infected with the Zika virus become ill, according to the CDC.
The best way to prevent Zika is to protect yourself from mosquito bites. Faculty, staff and students are encouraged to follow the CDC guidelines which include:

Mitigating mosquitoes on campus
STU is continuing with its proactive steps in mitigating mosquitoes. On a daily basis, our facilities staff conduct an inventory of standing water bodies, including ditches, drains, and ponds. Every 30 days the storm drains on campus are treated with a product to control mosquito larvae; this product is not harmful to fish or other aquatic organisms. Our Office of Physical Plant has completed multiple site-specific sprayings before outdoor events to reduce mosquito activity. In addition, at the request of STU, Miami-Dade County has conducted two mosquito surveys, as recent as two weeks ago, and they did not find active mosquito breeding locations on campus. Furthermore, our Associate Director of Risk Management, Environmental Compliance and Emergency Management actively participates in daily calls with municipal partners, Department of Health, Miami-Dade County, CDC, and other local universities to discuss Zika and measures to mitigate its spread. The STU Athletics Department provides athletes, coaches, and trainers with insect repellent for all outdoor sports for use during practice and games. 
Additional Information
Additional information and updates about the Zika virus will be provided to the campus community as it is available. Please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, www.cdc.gov, for more information.
Other Resources:
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What should you do if you have been bitten by a mosquito?
A: Don’t panic. It is highly unlikely, at this time, that you’re going to get Zika. Not all mosquitoes carry Zika, even in the places where the virus is actively spreading. It's the Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes that carry the virus, and one of them has to have bitten someone who's infected – and even then, it takes a couple of days for the virus to build up enough in the mosquito's body for the insect to transmit the virus to someone else.
Q: How would you know if you’ve contracted Zika?
A: You may have a rash, mild flulike symptoms, a fever, a headache, red eyes or severe joint pain. These usually appear within a week or 10 days of having been bitten by a mosquito carrying the virus. Only about 20 percent of people infected with the Zika virus become ill, according to the CDC. If you have these symptoms, you can visit the Student Health Center at STU located in the Student Center, or schedule an appointment with your doctor.
Q: How is Zika diagnosed?
A: To diagnose Zika, your doctor will ask you about recent travel and symptoms you may have, and collect blood or urine to test for Zika or similar viruses.
Q: How long does Zika remain in your body?
A: Typically one to two weeks. Once someone has been infected with Zika, it’s very likely they’ll be protected from future infections. There is no evidence that past Zika infection poses an increased risk of birth defects in future pregnancies.

Q: If a woman contracts the virus or shows symptoms, how long should she wait before trying to get pregnant?
A: Eight weeks.
Q: If a male contracts the virus, how long should he and his partner wait to have a baby?
A: Six months.

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