A student at The College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Va. contracted Zika virus while traveling in Central America over winter break, reports USA Today.
The Zika virus is now an international public health emergency, The World Health Organization declared on Monday declared.
But co-eds need not put away their passports just yet.
SIT Study Abroad, which offers more than 70 programs across the globe, including one in Brazil, where the disease has reached epidemic proportions, has not canceled any trips on accout of the virus. SIT said in a statement that they are closely monitoring the outbreak, and that “any serious risk to the general student body is extremely limited.”
Some universities with students studying in affected countries across Central America, South America and the Caribbean have addressed the outbreak and are closely watching students abroad, but have not taken more more extreme measures like restricting student travel.
The Center for Disease Control issued guidelines for travelers to protect themselves agaist the mosquito-borne virus by wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants, using EPA-registered insect repellents, treating clothing and gear with permethrin, and sleeping under a mosquito net if they must be outdoors. At the time of publication, the CDC has not issued a formal travel warning for Brazil and other countries where the virus is prevalent.
Already, several countries have advised that pregnant women should consider postponing travel to nations with ongoing Zika infection.
Although spending a semester abroad is a highlight of the college years, students will simply have to use their best judgement on whether to indulge their wanderlust or stay put.