This message was sent out on June 20, 2016 to all GEO students studying on summer and fall 2016 programs.

Dear GEO Students,

A global watch is underway as the Zika virus has begun spreading throughout many parts of the world. Specific areas where Zika is spreading are changing over time. If traveling, please visit the CDC Travelers’ Health site for the most updated travel information (

Zika virus disease (Zika) is a disease caused by the Zika virus, which is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. However, it has become known that Zika virus can be spread by a man to his sex partners.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recently issued travel guidance regarding this mosquito-borne virus, which is associated with microcephaly (small head and brain in newborns) as well other severe fetal brain defects.

Most people infected with Zika virus won’t even know they have the disease because they won’t have symptoms. The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, and pink eye; some have muscle aches, headache, and pain behind the eyes. The illness is usually mild, with symptoms lasting from several days to a week. The top concern is for pregnant women who get infected. Efforts are underway to produce a vaccine, but there is currently no vaccine and no treatment for this virus; the only way to prevent infection is to avoid being bitten by infected mosquitos.

Because there is neither a vaccine nor prophylactic medications available to prevent Zika virus infection, CDC recommends that all pregnant women consider postponing travel to areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing. Pregnant women or women who are considering becoming pregnant who must travel to one of these areas should consult with their health care provider before traveling and follow steps to prevent mosquito bites:

Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
Use EPA-registered insect repellents as directed.
Insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, and IR3535 are safe for pregnant and nursing women and children older than 2 months when used according to label.
Use permethrin-treated clothing and gear (boots, pants, socks, tents).
Stay in places with air conditioning and window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.
If you are pregnant and have traveled to a country reporting Zika, the CDC is recommending that you see your physician for counseling and testing. The CDC has released interim guidelines for pregnant women and their health care providers. Information and guidelines change frequently, so continue to check this CDC site if you are in an at-risk group. For general updated information on Zika, go to

The University of Oregon will continue to monitor this global situation. Please let us know if you have additional questions or concerns.


Dr. Richard Brunader, Medical Director UO Health Center
Dennis Galvan, Vice Provost for International Affairs