The following information is based on LeadAbroad’s direct observation, US Department of State recommendations, Overseas Security Advisory Council, WHO reports, local partners and expert consultation. Please click here for more information about LeadAbroad’s health, safety and security measures.
June 7, 2017: Cape Town, South Africa
Media sources are reporting that heavy winds have downed power lines and uprooted trees due to a major storm currently concentrated on the Western Cape region of South Africa. All LEAD Cape Town students are safe and accounted for at our local accommodations. Our staff members are promoting a fun, safe environment while insisting students remain in the safe confines of the hotel at this time.
The severe storm is expected to have winds of over 50 miles per hour, high waves and potentially hail or snowfall. The South African Weather Service has issued warnings for flooding on Wednesday, June 7, and Thursday, June 8. Travelers and residents are advised to heed advice from local authorities and take shelter from severe weather. Our US support team will continue to monitor weather patterns through media outlets and local partners to ensure the LEAD Cape Town students and staff members are well informed and take all necessary precautions to stay safe.
Important World Updates – Summer 2017
Our team is constantly working with partners around the world to identify any safety or health issues in or near our program locations. Though we do not anticipate any of these impacting the programs or our students, we do want to always create transparency and awareness. During the program, we will post updates on our website and contact parents directly if the situation requires. More information can be found at CDC’s travel heath notices website.
Here are current updates as of the date of publication:
Cape Town: The Western Cape region of South Africa which includes the City of Cape Town is suffering from a historic drought. We have spoken directly to the Cape Town City Council and the US Embassy about the situation. With rainy season on the way, both entities are not are overly concerned; however, we will continue to monitor the situation closely. We ask students to be mindful of their water consumption while on the program and, if recommended, drink bottled water.www.capetown.gov.za/thinkwater
Europe: The State Department reissued their Travel Alert for Europe due to continued threat of terrorist attacks in the region. Travel Alerts are designed to encourage travelers to exercise additional caution while traveling. This is not aTravel Warning, which is issued when the State Department does not recommend travel to the region. LeadAbroad strictly follows the State Department’s recommendations, including registering all students for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) prior to departure.
There have been several cases of measles reported throughout the European Union, including Italy, Spain, Belgium and Germany. The recent spread of measles has been caused in part by a declining vaccination rate in Europe. In the US, however, most students have had their MMR vaccination (measles, mumps and rubella) prior to attending university. We encourage students to wash their hands and carry hand sanitizer with them while traveling. If a student hasn’t received their MMR vaccination please let the program staff know prior to departure and note that the CDC encourages this vaccination for all travelers. Click here to read more.
There have also been cases of Hepatitis A reported throughout the European Union that have spread primarily among men. The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control recommends the Hepatitis A vaccination, which most Americans receive at a young age. If a student hasn’t received their Hepatitis A vaccination please let the program staff know prior to departure and note that the CDC encourages this vaccination for travelers. Click here to learn more.
Spain: Two cases of type C meningitis have been reported. There haven’t been cases of meningitis in several decades and authorities believe that they have isolated the situation. Again, this is a great reminder to be vigilant in washing hands and using hand sanitizer throughout the program. Click here to learn more.
Costa Rica: As is the case with much of South America, Central America and Africa; there have been cases of Zika reported in the country. The CDC recommends people wear bug spray and clothes that cover their skin to prevent bites. Many people infected with the Zika virus do not feel sick; however the virus can still spread without symptoms through intercourse or other mosquito bites. Upon returning to the States, students should take steps to prevent mosquito bites for 3 weeks after the trip, even if they don’t feel sick, so that they don’t spread Zika to uninfected mosquitoes that can then spread the virus to other people. If a student is pregnant they should contact our program staff prior to departure to discuss. More information can be found at CDC’s website.