The University of Houston System is changing to a new Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) beginning the upcoming 2016-2017 academic year. AcademicBlue, underwritten by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas, will be the new Student Health Insurance Plan for all UH System components. Academic HealthPlans will be the insurance administrator for this plan.
The University of Houston is monitoring events related to the outbreak of the Zika virus in a number of countries in the Caribbean, Central America and South America. The CDC has issued a travel alert for people traveling to countries in these regions where Zika virus transmission is ongoing. UH students who have plans to travel to Zika affected countries during the spring semester, spring break, or summer should refer to the CDC website for the most recent information on Zika. Travelers who are U.S. citizens should also enroll in the U.S. Department of State’s STEP travel enrollment data base and request health, safety, and security updates from the U.S. Department of State.
The Zika virus is transmitted through mosquito bites. The mosquitoes which transmit Zika bite during the daytime and can also spread dengue and chikungunya viruses. Prevent Zika by avoiding mosquito bites.
About 1 in 5 people infected with the virus develop symptoms of Zika, such as fever, rash, joint pain, or conjunctivitis (red eyes), lasting several days to a week. There is no vaccine or medicine to treat Zika, but severe disease is uncommon. Any student who has traveled abroad and has developed fever and rash should consult with their health care provider.
Out of an abundance of caution, CDC recommends that pregnant women in any trimester consider postponing travel to the areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing. Pregnant women or women trying to become pregnant who must travel to one of these areas should consult with their healthcare provider prior to travel and strictly follow steps to avoid mosquito bites during the trip. The Zika virus can be transmitted sexually, so barrier methods of birth control are highly recommended for people who have traveled to Zika infected areas.
Though this has not become an issue for the University of Houston community, we recommend if you have recently traveled abroad to one of the countries listed by the CDC and have any symptoms to follow up with a health professional or contact the Student Health Center at 713-743-5151.