Georgia Southern University officials sent students an alert late Wednesday afternoon informing them that a person had tested positive for Zika virus in Bulloch County, but that the virus was contracted elsewhere.
A campus alert was sent via email to the student body and university employees, addressed from the "Dean of Students," who is Patrice Jackson. Contact information at the end of the alert listed Dr. Brian DeLoach, the medical director in GSU 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," the notice stated.
Students were further advised that there have been about 60 travel-related Zika cases throughout Georgia already. No locally transmitted cases have been confirmed in the state.
"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," the notice stated. "We have also been in communication with our local health department regarding guidance on other mosquito control efforts. Additionally, Zika-related information is being posted in various locations on campus."
Jan Bond, an associate vice president in Georgia Southern's office of Marketing & Communications, confirmed the campus alert was sent out late Wednesday afternoon.
"The information in the alert is all the information we have to provide at this time," Bond said.
Zika virus is transmitted mainly by the bite of infected mosquitoes of the Aedes genus, which are found in Georgia. Public health officials have predicted for months that the disease would spread here, eventually. Sexual transmission is one documented means of person-to-person transmission.
The virus often produces no symptoms or mild symptoms in adults, but has been linked to birth defects when acquired by pregnant women, so health officials advise pregnant women not to travel to areas with ongoing Zika outbreaks. There is no vaccine to prevent Zika.
A state-by-state breakdown of Zika caes on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, updated Aug. 17, gave a count of 50 travel-associated cases in Georgia, and zero locally acquired cases here. Georgia, as of one week ago, had 2 percent of all travel-related Zika cases in the United States, while Florida had reported 405 travel-related cases, or 18 percent of the U.S. total.
At that time, 14 locally acquired cases in Florida were the only locally acquired cases in the states. Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory, had reported more than 7,800 people with Zika acquired there.