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A Message from the Nurse

The Rhode Island Department of Health has asked colleges and universities to share information about the mosquito-borne Zika virus because some areas where it is active are popular spring break locations such as Aruba, Jamaica, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, the U.S. Virgin Islands and other countries. See a full list.

People most at risk for developing complications from Zika virus are women who are pregnant or who plan on becoming pregnant. Symptoms are fever, rash, joint pain, headache, muscle pain and conjunctivitis (pink eye), but 80 percent of those infected will not have symptoms and will not know they are infected. Only one in five infected becomes ill.

Here are some tips from the Department of Health:

  • Any woman who is pregnant should consider deferring travel to areas with active mosquito-borne transmission of Zika virus.
  • Any man who travels to these areas and has a pregnant partner should use a condom for any kind sex or abstain from sex for the duration of the pregnancy.
  • Anyone who travels to these areas should follow mosquito bite prevention tips: Use an EPA-approved bug spray with at least 20 percent DEET, sleep under a mosquito net and try to stay inside air-conditioned buildings.
  • Symptoms typically appear within three to 14 days of infection. Anyone who has traveled to these areas and develops symptoms should contact his or her health care provider.
  • There are no vaccines or medications to prevent or treat Zika virus infection.

More information on Zika virus is available on the Centers for Disease Control website.