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Zika virus prevention U.S. travelers' knowledge, risk perceptions, and behavioral intentions-a national survey

Limited data exist about U.S. travelers' knowledge, risk perceptions, and behaviors related to the Zika virus (ZIKV). Using an internet research panel, in March 2017, we surveyed 1,202 Americans in the continental United States and Puerto Rico who planned to travel to a Zika-affected country, state, or U.S. territory in 2017. We compared levels of knowledge and perceived risk of ZIKV, and intentions to practice ZIKV prevention behaviors across respondents from three regions: Puerto Rico, at-risk states, and other states. More than 80% of respondents correctly understood that a person could acquire ZIKV through a bite from an infected mosquito, and over 64% of respondents knew that a pregnant woman could pass the virus to her fetus. Less than half of the respondents from at-risk states and other states knew that ZIKV could be transmitted sexually, as compared with three-quarters of respondents from Puerto Rico. Compared with respondents from at-risk and other states, respondents from Puerto Rico were the most knowledgeable for almost all types of knowledge assessed. Knowledge about post-travel precautions was low across all three regions. Differences in perceived risk and intentions to practice specific prevention behaviors also varied among regions. Significant gaps exist in U.S. travelers' knowledge about how to prevent ZIKV transmission both during and after travel. Input and collaboration from the travel industry, health care providers, and the media are needed to help educate travelers about how to prevent ZIKV infection and transmission.


Squiers, L., Herrington, J., Kelly, B., Bann, C., Becker-Dreps, S., Stamm, L., ... McCormack, L. (2018). Zika virus prevention: U.S. travelers' knowledge, risk perceptions, and behavioral intentions-a national survey. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 98(6), 1837-1847. https://doi.org/10.4269/ajtmh.17-0898

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