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Dear UM Family Member,

As we prepare to begin the fall semester at the University of Miami, we write to update you on the University's most recent steps to address the Zika virus.

As you may be aware, the Zika virus, likely contracted through a mosquito bite, has been reported in a one square mile area of Wynwood, an arts and entertainment district approximately 10 miles north of the University of Miami Coral Gables Campus.

The greatest danger from Zika occurs when infection is acquired during pregnancy. Zika has been linked with microcephaly (a serious birth defect in which babies are born with an unusually small head and underdeveloped brain) and other fetal and developmental abnormalities.

Most people who acquire Zika exhibit no symptoms. Those with symptoms often have fever, rash, joint pain or conjunctivitis (red eyes) for several days.  Although vaccine studies are underway, there is currently no vaccine and no specific therapy for Zika infection.

For several months the University of Miami has been actively engaged with its experts at UHealth-University of Miami Health System as well as public officials to ensure we have the latest information regarding the Zika virus and are taking any necessary steps to address this important concern.  Earlier this week, the University released this Zika advisory and both the UM Student Health Service and UHealth and the Miller School of Medicine have developed Zika virus webpages which will be updated as appropriate.

Pregnant women are advised to:

  • Obtain a Zika virus Prevention Kit from the Florida Department of Health by calling 305-324-2400.
  • Avoid the Wynwood area, and refrain from travel to areas with widespread Zika transmission. Review the CDC Travel Restriction and Protective Action Guidance.
  • 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.

As your students prepare for the fall semester, please encourage them to pack and use an effective mosquito repellent, leave windows closed or covered with screens and follow CDC recommendations.

Please don't hesitate to contact us by email if you have further questions at studenthealth@miami.edu or vpsa@miami.edu

Dr.Howard Anapol, M.D. Dr. Patricia A. Whitely
Howard Anapol, M.D.  Dr. Patricia A. Whitely
Director, Student Health Center  Vice President for Student Affairs

Information Resources
Miami-Dade County Drain and Cover Zika Preparedness Page http://www.miamidade.gov/solidwaste/mosquito-control.asp

Florida Department of Health - Zika Homepage http://www.floridahealth.gov/diseases-and-conditions/zika-virus

Centers for Disease Control - Zika Homepage http://www.cdc.gov/zika
CDC Travel Guidance Related to Miami Neighborhood with Active Zika Spread http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2016/p0801-zika-travel-guidance.html