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Stay informed on major health updates

We’ll keep you updated on major health concerns and updates.

Zika virus

In May 2015, the World Health Organization reported the first local transmission of Zika virus in the Western Hemisphere, with autochthonous (locally acquired) cases identified in Brazil. As of February 1, 2016, local transmission has been identified in at least 25 countries or territories in the Americas, including Puerto Rico. Further spread to other countries in the region is likely.

With the recent outbreaks in the Americas, the number of Zika virus disease cases among travelers visiting or returning to the United States will likely increase. These imported cases may result in local spread of the virus in some areas of the continental United States, meaning these imported cases may result in human-to-mosquito-to-human spread of the virus.

Also, as of February 2, 2016, one case of locally acquired and sexually transmitted Zika virus infection was confirmed in a patient in Texas. Possible cases of sexual transmission have been reported before, and the virus has occasionally been isolated in the seminal fluid of sick patients.

Zika virus is a mosquito-borne flavivirus transmitted primarily by Aedes aegypti. Aedes albopictus mosquitoes might also transmit the virus. Outbreaks of Zika virus disease have been reported previously in Africa, Asia, and islands in the Pacific.

About one in five people infected with Zika virus become symptomatic. Characteristic clinical findings include acute onset of fever, maculopapular rash, arthralgia, or conjunctivitis. Clinical illness usually is mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week. Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon and fatalities are rare.

During the current outbreak in Brazil, Zika virus RNA has been identified in tissues from several infants with microcephaly and from fetal losses in women infected during pregnancy. The Brazil Ministry of Health has reported a marked increase in the number of babies born with microcephaly; however, it is not known how many of the microcephaly cases are associated with Zika virus infection and what factors increase risk to the fetus. Guillain-Barré syndrome also has been reported in patients following suspected Zika virus infection.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Travel Alert for pregnant travelers to areas affected by Zika virus. A recent CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) also discusses guidelines for evaluating pregnant travelers for Zika virus.

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Ebola outbreak in West Africa

If you travel to Guinea, Liberia, or Sierra Leone you will likely be subject to quarantine restrictions by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH), and local health department, for up to 21 days upon your return to the United States. The situation in Mali is still changing and may also result in similar restrictions. 

Air travel from these countries is restricted. Generally you will be required to land at one of five selected U.S. airports. At the airport you will be screened by the CDC and/or the NYSDOH, for your health status and your activities during travel. CDC/NYSDOH may impose restrictions on your movement or activities (e.g., quarantine at home or at a controlled location, self-monitoring for symptoms or monitoring under close observation of a health department official, prohibition from certain modes of public transportation, etc). If you are returning to a New York State location, your restrictions will be enforced by the local health department.

If you would like more information on travel restrictions, please see wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/ and www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/ebola/docs/screening_protocol_jfk.pdf or contact the JCC Health Services Office.

Ebola Health Advisory

The State University of New York continues to closely monitor the evolving Ebola situation. 

Governor Cuomo has taken a number of steps to assure New Yorkers that proactive steps are being taken to protect health and safety, including the designation of SUNY Upstate and Stony Brook University Hospital as part of a statewide network of hospitals that will treat any potential patients. In support of the Governor’s preparedness planning and to protect our students and campuses communities, the Chancellor or the State University of New York has expanded the system-wide Ebola working group and continues to provide guidance and direction to all campuses.

The system-wide Ebola working group has been expanded to include campus specialists in medical management, public health, emergency management, international programs and student services. The Steering Committee for this working group is chaired by Dr. John F. Williams, M.D., Ed.D., M.P.H., President of SUNY Downstate Medical Center. Dr. Williams has extensive public health experience and expertise. 

This standing committee will convene regularly, monitor the situation locally and beyond and will work to ensure that campuses have access to the latest available information.

10/17/14 - Chancellor Zimpher Outlines SUNY-wide Ebola Preparedness Plan: Ebola Preparedness Memo to Campuses

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