GSU students react to person testing positive for travel-related - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

GSU students react to person testing positive for travel-related Zika virus

(Source: CNN/file) (Source: CNN/file)

A person has tested positive for the Zika virus in Bulloch County.

Georgia Southern University Student Health Services received notification Wednesday about the positive test.

According to Student Health Services, “it is important to understand that this case is travel associated and there is no evidence that Zika is being transmitted in our area. To date, there are approximately 60 other travel-related Zika cases throughout Georgia and no evidence of local transmission in Georgia.”

WTOC caught up with some students at GSU to get their thoughts on any potential risk to them. Some were concerned, but others said they were less worried, knowing it was travel-related. They said they would be more worried if the person contracted it locally instead of traveling somewhere and getting infected there. 

"I don't think it's something to get too worked up over. They sent out the alert so we know, but I think it's just something to be aware of that's going on around you," said GSU Sophomore, Javon Dickerson. 

"It's not local. They didn't get it locally so we're not more prone to get it. I don't feel like I'm in danger,” said GSU freshman, Jasmine Davis.

Zika can be transmitted between humans through physical contact, such as sex, that could raise the risk on a college campus.

"I guess it could spread quickly, with how it can be transmitted. Hadn't really thought about that,” said GSU freshman, Ava Dove. 

The students we spoke to said they think the contact they could have with that person is small and remote, but they're glad the school sent out the alert. 

"I just like that the school sent out an alert and wanted us to know what was going on and some info on ways to be safe,” said Dickerson.

But others say they won't take any unnecessary risks.

"Life goes on, you still go on with things. It just makes you more cautious. If I see a mosquito, I'm going to be moving away from it,” said GSU freshman, Robert Thomas. 

Health Services provided these two tips that people can do to protect themselves:

  • Prevent transmission by mosquitoes by preventing mosquito bites
  • Prevent sexual transmission by using a barrier (condoms) method for contraception

The Georgia Department of Public Health advises all persons living in Georgia to take steps to prevent mosquito bites. These steps include:

  • Use EPA-registered insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), or IR3535
  • Take steps to control mosquitoes outside your home by removing standing water reservoirs. The mosquitoes that spread Zika bite mostly during the daytime and tend to live around homes. They breed in containers so removing anything that holds water or dumping out standing water around the home after it rains will help reduce the number of these mosquitoes.

GSU Student Health Services also stressed, “At Georgia Southern, campus officials have been proactive in preparing for Zika and have already done an assessment of our campus to identify and remove areas that may collect standing water.”

Please click here for more information about the Zika virus from the Center for Disease Control. 

WTOC reached out to Georgia Southern, as well as the district and state health offices for more information on this case and any Zika developments in our region. We'll update when we get any information on this story. 

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