Zika Virus in the News: Revisiting Best Practices in Health and Travel Education on Campus

with David Arnold

About This Course

As many students travel during the Spring semester break, travel education has been long part of an institution’s effort to ensure safe and healthy students. What is the best way to respond and prepare students? What campus practices need to change or be adapted in preparation of Zika virus? This briefing took place on February 24, but you may still register to view the recording and related materials.

On February 1, 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the Zika virus a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. At this point in time, no travel restrictions have been imposed by either the WHO or the US State Department. However, more than 25 countries plus the US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and American Samoa have active Zika virus cases. According to the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), no locally transmitted cases of Zika have been confirmed in the continental US via mosquitoes, but sexual transmission has been confirmed. On February 8, 2016, CDC elevated its Emergency Operations Center (EOC) activation to a Level 1, the highest level. 

There have been reports of a serious birth defect of the brain called microcephaly in babies of mothers who had Zika virus while pregnant. Knowledge of the link between Zika and birth defects is evolving, but until more is known, the CDC recommends special precautions for pregnant women, including testing and travel restrictions. 

As many students travel during the Spring semester break, travel education has been long part of an institution’s effort to ensure safe and healthy students. What is the best way to respond and prepare students? What campus practices need to change or be adapted in preparation of Zika virus?

NASPA has recruited members from the Wellness and Health Promotion, International Education, Parent and Family Relations, and Students with Children Knowledge Communities in order to foster discussion and help campuses respond to Zika virus with students.

Our presenters will include:

Dr. Huda Sharaf, Medical Director at the University of Arkansas
Dr. Patrick Lukingbeal, Director, UH Wellness at the University of Houston
Dr. Matthew Rader, Assistant Vice President and Dean of Students at the Institute for the International Education of Students
David Arnold, Director of Alcohol Abuse and Prevention Initiatives for NASPA