The University of North Texas is urging students to be careful amidst the spread of the Zika virus in parts of Texas and elsewhere.
The school sent out an advisory Friday morning, just as the Centers for Disease Control put out new health guidelines on the virus.
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“We have three students who are currently studying in those affected areas,” said Elizabeth With, vice president of student affairs for UNT.
One is in Mexico, while two others are scheduled to depart for Argentina and Peru in March.
According to With, they have been in constant communication with students and faculty in all locations.
“We wanted them to know, one, that we're monitoring it. And two, that their safety and security is important to us,” said With.
The reminder came just as the CDC issued its own advisory Friday. A new set of interim guidelines was released, advising against sexual activity for some pregnant women.
“The real problem here is the effect on the developing brain of the fetus. That is what had to be the priority for protection,” said Tom Frieden, director of CDC.
As researchers learn more about the virus, Frieden said the link between the disease and a brain defect in unborn children, Microcephaly, becomes clearer.
It’s why they are recommending pregnant women, whose partner has been in a region infected with the virus, to proceed with caution.
The guidelines read, “Men with a pregnant sex partner who reside in or have traveled to an area of active Zika virus transmission and their pregnant sex partners should consistently and correctly use condoms during sex (vaginal, anal, or oral) or abstain from sexual activity for the duration of the pregnancy.”
Frieden explained they were also making new recommendations to health providers. If a pregnant woman without symptoms resides in an infected area, the CDC recommends testing for the virus.
“Testing is recommended when women begin prenatal care. Follow-up testing around the middle of the second trimester of pregnancy is also recommended, because of an ongoing risk of Zika virus exposure,” the agency wrote. “Pregnant women should receive routine prenatal care, including an ultrasound during the second trimester of pregnancy. An additional ultrasound may be performed at the discretion of the health care provider.”
In Dallas County, health officials are still awaiting results on four possible cases of the virus. Friday, they had no update on them.