What should I know about the Zika virus?

What is Zika and where does it come from?

Zika is virus transmitted by mosquitos. It may result in minor symptoms that last for a short time, such as fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis (red eyes). In some people, the infection may be unnoticeable.

As of this writing, there are outbreaks in Latin America and the Caribbean (including the location for CET Brazil), and Zika is considered endemic in Southeast Asia (including the location for CET Vietnam). For up-to-date information about Zika, read information about Zika published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Is there need for concern?

Zika has emerged as a public health emergency because of a confirmed link between exposure to the Zika virus during pregnancy and a serious birth defect called microcephaly. There is also suspicion of a link between the Zika virus and a rare disorder called Guillain-Barre syndrome. Health experts continue to investigate these links.

What should I do next?

Read information published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. You can also take the following steps to minimize your own risk and control the spread of Zika:

  • Use mosquito repellent and take other precautions to prevent mosquito bites, such as covering exposed skin.
  • Practice sound birth control methods to prevent an unplanned pregnancy.
  • If you have a compromised immune system or any health concerns, consult with your doctor before studying abroad.

While our understanding of the Zika virus continues to evolve, CET’s commitment to student safety is firm. If you attend a program in a location where a major health issue has been reported, CET will provide details about how to protect yourself.

 A previous version of this article indicated that Brazil was the only CET program location with a current outbreak and stated that the Zika virus does not stay in the body for long. This article was updated on October 3, 2016 to reflect the addition of Southeast Asia as a location in which the Zika virus is endemic (including the location for CET Vietnam) and to remove unclear language about the length of time the virus is present in the body.

A previous version of this article indicated a possible link between Zika and microcephaly. This article was updated on April 14, 2016 to reflect that this link has been confirmed.