UKIC / International Health, Safety & Security / Advisories and Alerts

Advisories and Alerts

The University of Kentucky's office of International Health, Safety & Security maintains this page as a resource to help travelers prepare for current health and safety concerns in countries and regions where UK has a significant travel footprint. For additional information and resources related to international travel health and safety, contact Director of Global Risk & Strategic Operations Jason Hope at jasonhope@uky.edu.

This page was last updated on September 29, 2022.

Energy Crisis in Europe

What is happening?

Before the war in Ukraine began, many European countries bought a great deal of natural gas from Russia. After the war began, the amount of natural gas coming into Europe from Russia decreased radically. The result has been that European countries are facing soaring gas prices and in some cases government-mandated restrictions on use in order to preserve the supply. Electricity costs have also gone up in Europe because much of the electricity produced on the continent comes from natural gas. It is likely that these restrictions will last throughout the winter, and that they will have significant effects on European economies, politics, and on daily life in Europe in the coming months.

How could this affect travel?

Travelers to Europe are likely to notice some significant impacts of the energy crisis during their trips.

In some countries, governments are implementing rules on the maximum temperatures that businesses can heat their interiors during the winter. For example, in Spain, heating in public businesses cannot be higher than 66 degrees Fahrenheit. Italy is capping temperatures in public buildings at 63 degrees. Other countries throughout the continent are implementing similar rules.

The energy crisis is causing political unrest in some European capitals, and that has the potential to continue and to worsen in the winter months. Travelers should be aware protests or transportation strikes that may disrupt their travel plans and avoid areas where protests are occurring.

What should I do?

Before you leave the U.S., make sure you have a full understanding of any rules or restrictions that may be in place in your host country due to the energy crisis. Unrest, such as political protests and transportation strikes may impact travel plans, so travelers should be aware of those and avoid areas where protests are occurring.

If you have further questions about how the energy crisis may affect your travel plans, contact Jason Hope at jasonhope@uky.edu.

Monkeypox

What is monkeypox?

Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus. Monkeypox virus is part of the same family of viruses as the virus that causes smallpox. Monkeypox symptoms are similar to smallpox symptoms, but milder, and monkeypox is rarely fatal. Monkeypox is not related to chickenpox.

The most common symptoms of monkeypox include:

  • fever
  • headache
  • muscle aches
  • back pain
  • low energy
  • swollen lymph nodes

These symptoms may be followed or accompanied by the development of a rash which can last for two to three weeks. The rash can be found on the face, palms of the hands, soles of the feet, eyes, mouth, throat, groin, and genital and/or anal regions of the body. The number of lesions can range from one to several thousand. Lesions begin flat, then fill with liquid before they crust over, dry up and fall off, with a fresh layer of skin forming underneath.

Symptoms typically last two to three weeks and usually go away on their own or with supportive care, such as medication for pain or fever. People remain infectious until all of the lesions have crusted over, the scabs fallen off and a new layer of skin has formed underneath.

The CDC and the WHO both offer additional detailed resources about monkeypox. CDC information can be found at this link, and the WHO page is available here.

UK also provides additional information about monkeypox at this link

How does monkeypox spread?

Monkeypox can spread to anyone through close, personal, often skin-to-skin contact, including:

  • Direct contact with monkeypox rash, scabs, or body fluids from a person with monkeypox.
  • Touching objects, fabrics (clothing, bedding, or towels), and surfaces that have been used by someone with monkeypox.
  • Contact with respiratory secretions.

This direct contact can happen during intimate contact, including:

  • Oral, anal, and vaginal sex or touching the genitals or anus of a person with monkeypox.
  • Hugging, massage, and kissing.
  • Prolonged face-to-face contact.
  • Touching fabrics and objects during sex that were used by a person with monkeypox and that have not been disinfected, such as bedding, towels, fetish gear, and sex toys.

The CDC provides more information about monkeypox transmission at this link. Remember that anyone can get monkeypox.

 

Where is monkeypox spreading?

Monkeypox is currently found in many countries, including the United States. However, some countries are experiencing higher case numbers than others. The CDC maintains and updated website to help you understand how it may be affecting your destination country. You can find more information at this link.

What should I do?

Before you travel, ensure that you understand how the monkeypox outbreak may be affecting your destination country. The CDC maintains updated country-specific information at this link. Also be sure to read through CDC and WHO resources related to monkeypox transmission and safety.

The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department currently has a limited supply of monkeypox vaccine which is available to qualified individuals. For more information and to contact the Health Department, follow this link.

There are several things that you can do to help protect yourself from monkeypox, especially if you choose to be sexually active while you are abroad. Information and tips from the CDC are available at this link.

War in Ukraine

How is the war affecting UK's travel policies?

UK students may not conduct UK-endorsed travel in any country under a Level 3 or Level 4 advisory from the US Department of State without completing a required review and approval process. More information about UK's student travel policies is available here. The three countries most-involved in the current conflict (Belarus, Russia and Ukraine) are all under Level 4 advisories.

UK employees are strongly encouraged not to consider travel to any of the affected countries at this time. For international travel in potential war zones, long-term disability coverage requires registration with the UK International Center and approval by the President, Provost or an Executive Vice President. Contact Director of Global Risk & Strategic Operations Jason Hope at jasonhope@uky.edu for further information.

Is it still safe to travel to Europe?

In our judgement, it is still safe to travel to the great majority of European countries, and we continue to plan for future Education Abroad programs throughout Europe. UK is not currently considering any changes to travel policy or programming due to the war.

What resources does UK use to monitor the situation?

The University of Kentucky is continuously monitoring the situation in eastern Europe. These are some of the resources we use to keep tabs on the situation:

  • Advice provided by the US Department of State, which regularly updates its travel advisories, including information on the availability of US embassy assistance to travelers;
  • Advice and on-the-ground security updates provided in real time by UK’s emergency assistance provider, AXA Assistance, and UK’s security intelligence provider, Crisis24;
  • Continuous monitoring of open-source media;
  • Advice provided by trusted on-site partners who develop international programs in partnership with us and who can speak to the realities they are currently facing in their countries;
  • Continuous benchmarking with other similar universities who are considering these same things.

As always, the safety and wellbeing of UK travelers is our top priority. The UK International Center will continue to monitor the situation, providing updates to travelers and the UK community as needed.

COVID-19

International travel during the COVID-19 pandemic

The UK International Center has been closely monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic since January, 2020. A website that fully-addresses international travel concerns during the pandemic can be found at this link. Information about UK's broader campus response to COVID-19 is available here.