February 4, 2016 —
Statement on the Zika Virus
The health and safety of teams traveling with HOI is among our highest priorities. Thus, we want to remind everyone traveling to Central America with us to monitor updates on travel health warnings from the Center for Disease Control. We also wanted to make you aware that the CDC has recently released a warning to pregnant women (or women who are planning on getting pregnant) who are traveling to 22 countries in the Americas regarding the possibility of contracting the Zika virus – the mosquito-borne virus implicated as a possible cause of microcephaly in infants born to infected mothers. To read more about this virus, click this CDC link. This virus has been found in Honduras, Haiti, Dominican Republic and Bolivia. While it has not yet spread to Costa Rica or Nicaragua, it is quite possible that it will so I wanted to include all of our team members traveling anywhere in Central America in this notice.
Along with the Zika virus, Chikungunya, Dengue, and Malaria also still pose a threat in many countries. It is wise to protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times by using DEET spray/topical, wearing long sleeves at night or around open water, pretreating clothes with permethrin, and taking your anti-malarial prophylactics. Some people may also choose to bring their own mosquito net to sleep under.
Some airlines are allowing cancellation of flights with a doctor’s note if travelers are unable to fly on tickets due to the outbreak of the Zika virus. Check with your airline if you are considering having to cancel your tickets for this reason. We also encourage anyone traveling to one of these regions and concerned about Zika to consult with their own doctor before they travel as well as considering purchasing their own trip cancellation insurance through their airlines.
We are not sharing this notice to create any sense of unnecessary fear– but so that the women on the impacted teams can make an informed decision about their continued participation.
Thank you for your heart to serve and your support of our work at HOI. We are truly grateful for you!