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Over 900 travel-associated Zika virus cases have been identified in New York City (NYC), New York. A survey was administered in NYC adapted from the Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practices (KAP) survey on Zika virus developed by the World Health Organization (WHO).
A standardized, self-administered, anonymous questionnaire was administered to a convenience sample in Manhattan and the Bronx from June 30th, 2016 to October 21st, 2016. Responses were grouped into six domains based on the content and structure of the questions and were summarized using descriptive statistics or converted into a continuous knowledge score and assessed for associations with pregnancy status and travel history using linear regression.
There were 224 respondents with a mean age of 33 (SD ± 11.6) with 77% (170/224) female and 24% (51/224) pregnant. The majority (98% (213/217)) were unable to identify all of the symptoms associated with acute Zika virus infection and all modes of transmission (97% (213/219)). Most participants (85% (187/219)) identified mosquitoes as a mode of transmission. 95% (116/122) reported an association between Zika virus and microcephaly. The most concerning aspect of Zika virus in 46% (91/200) was the risk of disabilities to babies, and risk of sexual transmission (25% (49/200)). When asked what precautions pregnant persons should to reduce the risk of transmission when traveling to a Zika endemic region, only 27% (50/185) identified using condoms during intercourse or refraining from intercourse while pregnant. Knowledge of Zika transmission is significantly positively associated with pregnancy status, but not with travel history.
Our results indicate an overall poor understanding of Zika virus symptoms and possible complications, transmission modes, and current recommended prevention guidelines. Pregnancy is positively associated with Knowledge of Zika Transmission, but not other knowledge scores. Reported travel history to Zika endemic regions is not significantly associated with Zika knowledge. There is a need for implementing future public health interventions that particularly focus on protection against Zika transmission, that Zika is sexually transmitted, and risks that the Guillain-Barré Syndrome poses a risk to adults.