Important Information Regarding Zika Virus

RISD has been closely monitoring the progression of the Zika virus. Given the recent media reports, we wanted to share some information and resources with the community so everyone is well informed.

The Zika virus is an infection primarily transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito that has become increasingly prevalent in large areas of Central America, South America, Mexico and the Caribbean. No mosquito-transmitted Zika cases have been reported in the continental United States, but cases have been reported in returning travelers. Detailed information on the virus, including symptoms, treatment and transmission, is available on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website.

Because of the Zika virus’ suspected link to birth defects, the World Health Organization has declared it an international public health emergency [R1] and the CDC has issued a travel alert to regions with Zika virus outbreaks. Both the WHO and the CDC are encouraging people who travel to areas where Zika exists to take preventative measures, especially pregnant women and women who may become pregnant. If you are traveling to impacted areas in the coming months, we encourage you to be extra vigilant in checking and following the CDC’s recommendations.

At this time, no RISD programs have been altered due to the Zika virus. If that changes in the future, we will communicate directly with individuals affected. Health Services and Public Safety staff are prepared to follow the CDC’s guidelines for screening, which includes seeking and considering travel history when evaluating symptoms.

Students, if you have questions about the Zika virus, please contact RISD Health Services at 401.454.6625. Also, we know many of you may have family and friends in impacted areas. If you would like support, please reach out to RISD Counseling and Psychological Services at 401.454.6637. Faculty and staff, please reach out to your primary care physician if you have questions or concerns.

RISD will use this website to keep the community posted on any further developments regarding the Zika virus.

Sam Solomon & Jack Silva

Co-Chairs – Emergency Operations Command Team