As students make their way back from Spring Break, Temple health officials want students to know Zika Virus has been spreading quickly, but is a minimal threat to most. The virus — transmitted by mosquito bite or sexual contact — is mostly affecting areas south of Florida, including the Caribbean. But just last week, officials confirmed the first case of Zika Virus in Philadelphia.
Health officials on campus said symptoms are often mild, and can include headaches, rashes and fevers. Most people affected will have symptoms that last for less than one week. Student Health Services issued an email before Spring Break, addressing the dangers of Zika Virus and techniques to prevent contraction. More information on how travelers can protect themselves can be found on the SHS website.
Senior Davonne Bonneau said he got the email. “I didn’t go out of the country, but they were just giving us ideas of how to stay away from the virus,” he said.
“I’m not pregnant so I’m not super concerned about it, but I think people should be aware because if it’s in Philly then there are obviously people at risk,” said Freshman Amy Heinmets.
Meanwhile, at Temple University Hospital, doctors say they’re urging pregnant women to be careful. Dr. Laura Goetzl is the Director of Maternal Fetal Medicine at Temple University Hospital. She said Zika can be linked to birth defects, including microcephaly, an abnormality in the growth of the brain.
“The main people who need to be concerned are pregnant women or women who may get pregnant by accident, considering that most pregnancies, especially in college age students unplanned,” she said. Mark Denys, Director of Temple Student Health Services, said 1 in 5 people with the virus experience symptoms, usually lasting less than a week.
“The symptoms are so minimal, and most people don’t even have symptoms. It’s something to keep an eye on — make sure you’re aware of what’s going on, but still, very low concern,” he said.