Prior to embarking on a humanitarian trip to Costa Rica, Villa Maria Academy High School juniors, seniors and their parents received advice from Main Line Health’s Chief of Infectious Diseases, who helped separate fact from fiction regarding the Zika virus epidemic.
“Traveling to areas affected by the Zika Virus, such as Central America, does pose a risk” said Dr. Mark Ingerman, Main Line Health Chief of Infectious Diseases. “The overall risk for this group is small, particularly if appropriate preventive measures are taken.”
Two Main Line Health physicians and parent chaperones for the trip, Gregory W Higbee, Bryn Mawr Hospital Emergency Department, and Helen M Kuroki, Riddle Hospital OB/GYN and Vice President of Medical Affairs, invited Dr. Mark Ingerman to speak about the virus and the potential risks associated with their upcoming trip.
“As a chaperone and a parent of a student going on the trip, I am relieved that Dr. Ingerman came to Villa Maria to dispel myths about the Zika virus,” said Helen Kuroki, MD. “Dr. Ingerman also evaluated the risk for our group and I was comforted by his assessment of our low risk factor.”
Dr. Ingerman encouraged the use of insect repellant on their skin and permethrin insecticide to be applied to their clothing. He also encouraged the students to keep their skin covered, particularly when the mosquitoes are most prevalent, during dusk and dawn. Because the risk of contracting the virus is relatively low for this group, Dr. Ingerman encouraged each family to make their own informed decisions about whether or not to travel.
Approximately 40 parents and students were in attendance at the Zika virus presentation. Pictured from left to right are: (back row) Grace Funchion, Dena Hartel, Kelly McBride, Bryn Mawr Hospital Emergency Medicine physician, Dr. Higbee; Riddle Hospital OB/GYN and Vice President of Medical Affairs, Dr. Kuroki; Sister Regina Ryan, IHM, Principal of Villa Maria Academy High School. (Front row) Grace Kuroki, Jill Bowie, Katie Gosselin, Rachel Bokar. Villa Maria trip leader, service learning coordinator and faculty English teacher, Mrs. Kara Bielli, was also in attendance but not pictured.