Back in September, Jill Duggar and Derick Dillard cut their missionary trip short and returned home to Arkansas after just a few weeks in Central America.
A minor scandal ensued, and the Dillards were forced to return funds donated by fans who felt they’d been duped. Jill and Derick resumed their humanitarian efforts shortly thereafter, but now it looks like they’ve once again returned to the States well ahead of schedule.
The above photo – which was recently posted to the Duggar family’s official Facebook page without a caption – appears to show the Dillards posing with 6-year-old niece Mackynzie at the "Duggar compound" in Tontitown, AR.
It is widely believed that Jill and Derick left Central America in order to avoid contracting the mosquito-borne Zika virus, which is known to cause birth defects in the children of infected mothers.
Women in the region have been advised to avoid getting pregnant for at least the next year, and Jill and Derick’s religious beliefs dictate that women should have as many children as possible.
While there’s no way of knowing when the photo was taken, many fans have pointed out in the comments that it was posted on January 26, which is the same day that the first case of Zika was reported in Arkansas.
Obviously, there’s no way of knowing if anyone in the Dillard family contracted or has been tested for Zika, but it’s safe to assume the illness played a role in Jill and Derick’s decision to return to the US.
The Duggars have not yet spoken publicly on the matter, but the photo seems to be their way of assuring concerned fans that Jill, Derick, and baby Israel are out of harm’s way.
Jill has been uncharacteristically quiet on social media for the past three weeks.
We’ll have updates on this story as more information becomes available.