Updated Zika virus information for the Princeton community

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The information below is intended for members of the Princeton community.

Zika virus is a mosquito-borne virus that causes illness (fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes) in about one in five people who are infected with it. Zika virus infection before or during pregnancy has been associated with severe birth defects (microcephaly) and poor pregnancy outcomes. Additionally, researchers have established an association between Zika virus and Guillain-Barré syndrome, an autoimmune disorder affecting nerves that can sometimes lead to paralysis.

To date, there have been no cases of locally transmitted Zika virus. As new information emerges and affected regions change regularly, visit the CDC's website for an up-to-date list of affected areas.

Zika virus notices for Princeton University community members who are:

Returning from the affected areas

If you have returned from an area affected by the Zika outbreak and wish to request Zika testing, UHS will only provide testing as per CDC recommendation for  pregnant women returning from affected areas and non-pregnant travelers who experience symptoms of Zika virus disease (fever, rash, pink eyes, or joint paints).

In the U.S. there have been multiple confirmed cases of sexually acquired Zika. Since, the available tests do not detect the presence of Zika virus in genital fluids, testing is not recommended for determining the possibility for Zika virus transmitted sexually. 

In order to avoid the sexual transmission of Zika virus, the CDC recommends that:

  1. Male travelers refrain from unprotected sex for 6 months after returning , regardless of symptoms consistent with Zika virus infection; and
  2. Female travelers refrain from unprotected sex for 8 weeks regardless of symptoms.

Pregnant or may become pregnant

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control advises women who are pregnant or may become pregnant to postpone travel to the affected areas listed above because of the link between Zika virus infection during pregnancy and severe birth defects.

Additionally, pregnant women should refrain from unprotected sex with returned travelers for the duration of pregnancy.

Read more about pregnancy and Zika.

Traveling to the affected areas

If traveling, take precaution to prevent mosquito bites.  Because there is no vaccine or cure, preventing exposure is the only way to avoid disease.  We strongly recommend that any traveler to affected and surrounding areas strictly follow the guidance for preventing mosquito bites available on the CDC website.

Zika Virus Prevention

There is currently no vaccine or other preventative or curative medication for Zika virus. The only known ways to prevent acquisition of Zika is by preventing mosquito bites and by the proper use of condoms or abstinence from sexual contact with persons who have traveled to Zika affected areas. The CDC has more information on Zika virus prevention.

For more information, see the CDC page on Zika virus. 

We are following this outbreak closely as new information emerges.  If you have any questions or concerns related to Zika virus or any symptoms, call UHS at 609-258-3141.