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Missionaries protect themselves from Zika virus

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Posted at 11:15 PM, Feb 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-09 04:39:00-05

FORT PIERCE, Fla. -- A female missionary worker from Oklahoma was diagnosed with the Zika virus after spending time in Haiti.

Now, local missionaries are taking notice and making sure they're prepared to combat the virus before they land in an impacted country.

Missionary Flights International, based in Fort Pierce, makes several trips to Haiti each week.

Now with every flight, pilots give the missionaries a flier detailing what they need to know about the virus, how to prevent it and what to do if they think they've contracted it.

Pilot Kevin Stratton says he's not too worried about contracting the Zika virus.

"We put on bug spray and if we're going to be off the airport, and out, we consider wearing some type of long pants long shirt," Stratton said.

He worries more about people he takes to Haiti.

"We just want our passengers to be safe, we want them to be well informed and ultimately we want them to be comfortable while they're traveling down there."

In previous years, other viruses carried by mosquitos put a stop to some mission trips. Chikungunya and Dengue fever posed threats in recent years.

"It is a little bit worrisome that you've got another mosquito born virus that is probably possibly causing birth defects," Stratton said.

Stratton says the Zika virus hasn't led to any canceled mission trips yet.