While the threat of the Ebola virus to The City University of New York is small, each campus is prepared to prevent the spread of infectious diseases and deal with any contingencies that may arise. Furthermore, CUNY has established mechanisms to facilitate quick and clear communication of important developments regarding the Ebola virus.

About Flu

The Influenza virus, most commonly known as the flu, is a seasonal respiratory infection which is similar to, but typically more severe than, the common cold. The flu season runs from the beginning of fall to the end of the winter months. Students, faculty, and staff can get sick with flu, and institutions may act as a “point of spread” that can easily spread flu to others as well as the larger community.  The symptoms can include:

  • Fever
  • Runny/stuffy nose
  • Cough/sore throat
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Headache/body aches

Flu Prevention Tips

Here are a few tips to follow to lower your chances of catching the Flu:

  • Get plenty of sleep. If your well rested your less likely to become infected with the Flu virus.
  • Be strict about washing hands. Hands covered in germs spread colds and the flu. Make sure to scrub your hands well with soap or an alcohol-based hand rub for 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Get your flu shot. One of the best ways to avoid catching the flu is to get vaccinated against it.

Influenza (Flu) Vaccine Safety

If You Get Sick

CDC guidance recommends that, faculty, students, and staff with flu-like sickness should stay in their home or residence hall until at least 24 hours after they no longer have a fever (100 degrees Fahrenheit or 37.8 degrees Celsius) or signs of a fever (have chills, feel very warm, have a flushed appearance, or are sweating). This should be determined without the use of fever-reducing medicines (any medicine that contains ibuprofen or acetaminophen).

Cleaning and Disinfecting During Flu Season

Cleaning and disinfecting are part of a broad approach to preventing infectious diseases in an educational environment. Most studies have shown that the flu virus can live and potentially infect a person for only 2 to 8 hours after being deposited on a surface. Flu viruses are relatively fragile, so follow your standard procedures for routine cleaning and disinfecting practices, they are sufficient to remove or kill them. Typically, this means daily sanitizing surfaces and objects that are touched often, such as desks, counter-tops, doorknobs, computer keyboards, hands-on learning items, faucet handles, phones, etc.

About Zika

Zika virus disease (Zika) is a disease caused by the Zika virus, which is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week after being bitten by an infected mosquito. People usually don’t get sick enough to go to the hospital, and they very rarely die of Zika. For this reason, many people might not realize they have been infected. However, Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause a serious birth defect called microcephaly, as well as other severe fetal brain defects. Once a person has been infected, he or she is likely to be protected from future infections.

Zika virus was first discovered in 1947 and is named after the Zika Forest in Uganda. In 1952, the first human cases of Zika were detected and since then, outbreaks of Zika have been reported in tropical Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands. Zika outbreaks have probably occurred in many locations. Before 2007, at least 14 cases of Zika had been documented, although other cases were likely to have occurred and were not reported. Because the symptoms of Zika are similar to those of many other diseases, many cases may not have been recognized.

In May 2015, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) issued an alert regarding the first confirmed Zika virus infection in Brazil. On February 1, 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Zika virus a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). Local transmission has been reported in many other countries and territories. Zika virus will likely continue to spread to new areas.

Specific areas whereZika is spreading are often difficult to determine and are likely to change over time. If traveling, please visi the CDC Travelers’ Health site for the most updated travel information.

Resources

CDC – Zika Information

NYC Health – Zika Virus Information

NYS Health – Zika Information

Health Resources