As news about the Zika virus spreads and evolves our participants may be wondering what this means for those planning to travel abroad.¬† Zika is an emerging infectious disease that is transmitted to people through mosquito bites. It has been linked to birth defects in cases where the mother was pregnant while infected with Zika.
Semester at Sea will continue to monitor information regarding the Zika virus. Our locations, to date, pose limited to no concern for Zika. As with other situations that may affect our programs, we will continue to monitor updates regarding the virus. Should there be any concern with a Semester at Sea location we may alter our port of call or field programs if we deem it more prudent to travel to a different part of the country during the program.
Semester at Sea’s most immediate plan is to advise students to take precautions to prevent mosquito bites. Our shipboard staff will review precautions with our students to prevent mosquito bites and minimize exposure (as they do for other illnesses, in general).
Students should take precautions to avoid mosquito bites to the extent possible.¬† Students should also avoid contact with blood and sexual fluids of infected persons.
Students can protect themselves by preventing mosquito bites:
- Cover exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
- Use EPA-registered insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or IR3535.
- Use permethrin-treated clothing and gear (such as boots, pants, socks and tents). You can buy pre-treated clothing and gear or treat them yourself.
We will continue to review important information regarding the health and safety of our participants and provide updates of any changes.