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Many Don’t Know Key Facts About Zika Virus Transmission

Overall, 31 percent of respondents believe that Zika is transmitted through coughing and sneezing

WEDNESDAY, March 30, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Many individuals are unaware of the exact nature of Zika virus transmission, according to a report published online March 29 by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Researchers conducted a nationally representative poll of 1,275 adults, including 105 who live in households where someone is pregnant or is considering getting pregnant within the next 12 months.

The researchers found that 23 percent of respondents in households where someone was either pregnant or considering getting pregnant were not aware of the correlation between Zika virus and microcephaly; 20 percent believed there was a vaccine for Zika. Thirty-nine percent of all respondents believed that if a non-pregnant woman gets infected by Zika virus it is likely to harm subsequent pregnancies. Although 87 percent of all respondents knew that Zika virus was transmitted by mosquitoes, 22, 29, and 40 percent, respectively, were unaware that Zika could be transmitted to a fetus during pregnancy, that it could be transmitted through blood transfusions, and that it could be transmitted sexually. Thirty-one percent believed that it was transmitted through coughing and sneezing.

“We have a key window before the mosquito season gears up in communities within the United States mainland to correct misperceptions about Zika virus so that pregnant women and their partners may take appropriate measures to protect their families,” Gillian SteelFisher, Ph.D., director of the poll and research scientist in the Department of Health Policy and Management at Harvard Chan School, said in a statement.

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