University Health Services joins public health officials in urging UC Berkeley students, faculty and staff to defer travel or to use caution when traveling to Zika-affected areas as the most effective action members of the campus community can take to protect themselves. Zika virus is of concern because of its association with a birth defect called “microcephaly,” in which babies are born with unusually small heads and brains, and with an increase in Guillain-Barré syndrome, which causes temporary paralysis.
Travelers from UC Berkeley are urged to consult the CDC for area-specific travel advisories as the situation is evolving rapidly. For more information, see the CDC’s questions and answers about the Zika virus.
Additional precautions and symptoms
The risk of birth defects makes the travel advisories particularly important for women who are pregnant or intending to be. Since there is some evidence the virus can be found in semen, men who have recently traveled to Zika-affected regions should use condoms, especially with pregnant partners.
Approximately 80% of those infected with the Zika virus show no symptoms. When symptoms do occur, they may include rash, fever, joint pains, and red eyes. If you have recently traveled to a Zika-affected area and become pregnant or develop symptoms such as fever, rash, joint pains, and/or red eyes, please seek medical care to discuss this with your doctor, or call the University Health Services Urgent Care for medical advice at (510) 642-3188.
Update in California cases
As of February 12, 2016, the Zika virus has been confirmed in nine Californians over the past three years. All of these individuals contracted the virus abroad after traveling to Zika-affected areas. The virus is primarily spread in these areas by Aedes aegypti or Aedes albopictus mosquito biting a Zika-infected person and then biting a previously uninfected person.
Traveling for official University business
University employees and students traveling on official university business have access to travel insurance for a wide variety of accidents and incidents while away from the campus or primary work place. Although there is no charge for this service, registration is required. For more information, please visit the UCOP travel assistance page.