NYU Report: U.S. Public’s Perception of Zika Risk: Awareness, Knowledge, and Receptivity to Public Health Interventions
The public health sector is presently on high alert for evidence of local transmission of the Zika virus in the continental United States as well as infections that have been acquired elsewhere and imported into the U.S. A number of national, state, and local health officials are actively engaged in vector control, surveillance, and diagnostic and communication activities focused on the Zika virus. Even if major outbreaks do not materialize, public health officials are concerned about the possibility of a sharp increase in babies born with congenital birth defects and other neurological deficits linked to Zika viral infections among pregnant women.
This high level of situational awareness and concern within the public health sector, though, is not mirrored among the general public. Although most U.S. residents are generally aware of the virus, their specific knowledge regarding the virus’s symptoms and transmission routes is incomplete, their personal sense of threat of Zika infection is relatively muted, and their receptivity to various public health intervention strategies varies by such factors as their gender, their age, and their political ideology, among other characteristics.
Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) Updates Top Questions on Zika: Simple Answers
On August 8, ASTHO published an update to Top Questions on Zika: Simple Answers.
The document provides messages that can help officials answer frequently asked questions related to Zika prevention and response activities. In the latest version, ASTHO updated several sections including questions related to sexual transmission, federal response plans, and screening guidance. To find more information about the virus, visit ASTHO's Zika virus web page. ASTHO welcomes feedback on the document, as well as suggestions for additional candidate questions to be included in future versions. Please send to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Teresa Miller, Chemical Threat Response Training Coordinator, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Bureau of Laboratories
The Bureau of Laboratories, Michigan’s Public Health Laboratory began testing human clinical samples for Zika virus on May 9, 2016. Michigan is not a geographical hot zone for Zika virus. Our public health laboratory has allied with notable public health officials to perform clinical sample analysis for suspected human cases. Analysis of these clinical samples will aid epidemiologists and other scientific entities in finding definitive answers to concerns about contraction and spread of this viremic disease. Although the Bureau of Laboratories is not a research facility, characteristics of identified viral illness will aid in the quest for answers to our scientific questions about this virus.