What is the zika virus and how does it affect the HOLA Foundation?

As many of you know, the Zika virus has been a hot topic in the news lately because of reports that it is spreading not only through Central and South America, but also because cases have been reported in the United States. Most people associate the disease with the infants born with microcephaly. While that is a large factor, that is not the only side effect of the virus.

The Zika virus itself is spread through mosquitos. A mosquito becomes infected when it bites a person already infected by the virus and then the mosquito goes on to infect other people when it bites them. The major concern associated with the virus is that pregnant mothers can spread the virus to their fetus during their pregnancy or around the time of birth. Also, there is not yet a vaccine so in countries such as Nicaragua where contraception is not commonly used; the Zika virus is a major concern.

Luckily for the members of HOLA, unless a woman is pregnant during the trip to Nicaragua, if the virus is contracted the symptoms are usually mild and last anywhere from a couple days to a week. These symptoms include fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes) and begin anywhere from two to seven days after being bitten.

Overall, unless there is possibility of pregnancy, the Zika virus does not pose a threat to the members of the HOLA foundation.