tiger fur photo
Healthy Campus logo

Zika Virus

The White House. (n.d.). Our Response to the Zika Virus. Retrieved from URL

As of August 17, 2016, 2245 cases of the Zika virus have been confirmed in 47 states including 31 cases in South Carolina. Clemson University is actively and closely monitoring the Zika virus situation. The Zika virus is a mosquito-transmitted illness similar to Dengue or Chikungunya. Zika can also be spread through sex and from mother to child. The symptoms of Zika include fever, rash, pain in the joints and redness in the eyes, though they are generally milder than Dengue and Chikungunya cases and usually last a few days to a week. The virus is of most concern, however, to pregnant women, as it may be linked to a significant increase in cases of children born with microcephaly, a neurological birth defect. Zika is also associated with other birth defects. New information is emerging rapidly, and the most up-to-date information can be found at cdc.gov/zika.

  • Clemson Abroad has not suspended any programs to areas affected by Zika virus transmission. CDC information will be shared with the relevant program participants and directors.

  • Pregnant travelers to areas with Zika virus transmission should postpone their travel, if at all possible. Learn about which countries have active transmission

  • Students and employees traveling to Central and South America and the Caribbean should be well informed about mosquito-bite prevention and the possibility of mosquito borne viral infections, including Zika, Chikungunya and Dengue.

  • Aedes species mosquitoes can bite during the daytime as well as at dawn and dusk.

  • Clemson University is located in a region that has both the Aedes albopictus and  Aedes aegypti mosquitos. Because of this, the University will plan for the possibility of locally acquired Zika virus infection and will continue to monitor the local situation and provide messages to students and employees regarding transmission and prevention of Zika virus.

  • Until more is known about the sexual transmission of Zika virus, students and employees returning from Zika affected areas are encouraged to use condoms for all sexual contact.

  • Students, especially pregnant women, who are concerned they may have contracted the Zika virus during travel or locally should immediately see a healthcare provider at Redfern Health Center. Employees should consult with their healthcare provider.

  • If you have additional questions, contact Student Health Services at 864-656-3571.

There is no vaccine to prevent Zika. Travelers can protect themselves by preventing mosquito bites and using condoms during any form of sexual activity.

  • Cover exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants.

  • Use EPA-registered insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or IR3535. Always use as directed. *If you travel to an area with Zika, wear insect repellent for at least 3 weeks after returning home to prevent the spread of Zika to mosquitos who could then spread Zika to other people. 

    • Pregnant and breastfeeding women can use all EPA-registered insect repellents, including DEET, according to the product label.

    • Most repellents, including DEET, can be used on children aged >2 months.

  • Use permethrin-treated clothing and gear (such as boots, pants, socks and tents). You can buy pre-treated clothing and gear or treat them yourself.

Learn More About Prevention and How to Protect Yourself and Others

Plan for Travel

According the the CDC,

  • Zika can be passed through sex from a person who has Zika to his or her partners. Zika can be passed through sex, even if the infected person does not have symptoms at the time.

    • It can be passed from a person with Zika before their symptoms start, while they have symptoms and after their symptoms end.

    • Though not well documented, the virus may also be passed by a person who carries the virus but never develops symptoms.

  • Studies are underway to find out how long Zika stays in the semen and vaginal fluids of people who have Zika and how long it can be passed to sex partners. We know that Zika can remain in semen longer than in other body fluids, including vaginal fluids, urine and blood.

The best way to reduce the chance of Zika transmission from sex is to use a condom during any type of sexual activity – anal, oral or vaginal.

Learn More About Zika and Sexual Transmission

Zika and Sexual Transmission Infographic

How to Protect Yourself from Getting Zika from Sex Infographic

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (August 2016). Zika and Sexual Transmission. Retrieved from URL

Click on any image thumbnail to enlarge. Click again to hide: