The Zika virus has made its way into many countries around the world, and has been directly linked to severe birth defects as leading experts issue warning after warning. This mosquito-borne virus has many people on edge in the US, and there are some helpful facts that you should be aware of it, because a recent survey revealed that Americans are misinformed.
The Harvard University T.H. Chan School of Public Health recently conducted a survey that polled over 1,200 adults and 105 households where there was a woman who was currently pregnant or who was planning to have a child within the next 12 months.
The findings revealed that many people are entirely unaware of the current Zika facts.
23% were not aware that Ziki can cause microcephaly, a birth defect where infants suffer from abnormally small heads. The horror stories coming from Brazil have already revealed that thousands of babies are being born severely deformed from this virus.
About one out of five households that were polled said they thought a new vaccine that prevents Zika had already been found. The reality is that a vaccine such as this is years away from being human ready.
25% believed that the symptoms of the Zika virus are obvious and easily identified. But the fact of the matter is that the majority of those who are infected do not demonstrate any outward signs of illness.
Furthermore, one quarter mistakenly believed symptoms were likely to be apparent, when in fact most of those who are infected show no signs of illness.
“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,” explained Gillian SteelFisher, director of the poll and research scientist at Harvard.
- 22% of those polled think that Zika can be transmitted from mother to fetus during pregnancy.
- 29% had no idea that you can catch Zika from a simple blood transfusion.
- Scarily, 40% were not aware that you can catch this virus from sexual transmission.
- 31% of people polled thought that you could get the virus from a cough or a sneeze.
- Almost 75% of participants did not know that Zika can cause a disease called Guillain-Barre syndrome, which can lead to paralysis.
The CDC has posted a warning about Zika, asking men who know that they are infected to refrain from sexual activity for six months or longer, or use a condom, preferable the former.
You can learn more about this virus and how you can protect yourself and your loved ones by visiting the information page on the CDC at: http://www.cdc.gov/zika.