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Advisory No. 3 - August 23, 2016

Update on Zika Virus and University of Miami Preparedness Actions

The University of Miami has broadened its proactive actions and continues to consult daily with public officials and its own experts to comprehensively address the Zika virus.

All the local cases of the virus contracted through a mosquito bite are believed to be confined in a half-square-mile area of Wynwood, a neighborhood near downtown Miami that is ten miles north of UM's Coral Gables campus, and in Miami Beach, between 8th Street and 28th Street.

The following summarizes the latest actions that have been implemented:

  • The University has been strictly following the Florida Department of Health (FDOH) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance regarding identifying and draining areas of contained water that could be mosquito breeding grounds. The University continues to conduct mosquito assessments on all campuses and has not identified any locations where mosquitos appear to be breeding. While FDOH and CDC have not recommended aerial or wide-area spraying for any UM campus, targeted spraying is being conducted.
  • Whenever possible, faculty and staff should consider the location of Zika-affected areas when planning academic and work-related events and consider alternate locations.
  • Six thousand bottles of mosquito repellent were distributed to students in the residential colleges and University Village, and additional bottles are available at reception desks. Repellent wipes are available for students using the intramural fields.
  • All members of the University community have been asked to report any area of standing contained water to Facilities Management and Physical Plant teams who are prepared to respond with spraying.
  • The University is participating in daily conference calls with local and state partners to ensure our ongoing awareness of the very latest information regarding the virus. We are prepared to implement any additional measures recommended by local government, FDOH, or the CDC.

The UM community is urged to adhere to the following personal protective action recommendations:

  • Cover clothing and bare skin with EPA-registered insect repellent.
  • Do not leave windows open, or cover with screens.
  • Pregnant women:
    • Obtain a Zika Virus Prevention Kit from FDOH by calling 305-324-2400.
    • The CDC advises: Pregnant women and their partners should avoid travel to the designated area of Miami Beach, in addition to the designated area of Wynwood, both located in Miami-Dade County, because active local transmission of Zika has been confirmed. For more information review the latest CDC Zika Transmission Travel Risk Reduction Advisory.
    • If traveling to an area with widespread Zika transmission, ensure steps are taken to avoid mosquito bites and the potential for transmission through unprotected sexual intercourse.
  • For more information on Zika, visit www.miami.edu/zika or uhealthsystem.com/zika-virus.

Many people who acquire the virus exhibit no symptoms at all; those who do have symptoms often have fever, rash, joint pain, or conjunctivitis (red eyes) for several days. The real danger applies to pregnant women who acquire the virus. Zika has been linked to microcephaly (a serious birth defect in which babies are born with an unusually small head and underdeveloped brain) and problems in infants, including eye defects, hearing loss, and impaired growth. Sexual transmission of the virus from men to women has been reported and represents another potential threat to women of childbearing age. Pregnant women, or those considering pregnancy, are strongly encouraged to review the CDC Zika Virus Information for Pregnant Women website.

If you have any questions about Zika virus, or if you think you may be developing symptoms of a Zika virus infection, contact your doctor. If you are pregnant, every OB visit should include a discussion of your personal risk. Ask your OB provider at UHealth (305-243-4530) or in the community if you should be tested.

Information Resources
Miami-Dade County Drain and Cover Zika Preparedness Page

Florida Department of Health - Zika Homepage

Centers for Disease Control - Zika Homepage

All members of the University community are strongly encouraged to follow the protective action recommendations detailed above. We will continue to keep you updated on this important matter.