Concern and Attitudes Toward Zika Virus in Jarabacoa, Dominican Republic: A Cross-Sectional Study

  •  Gregory Black    
  •  Eric Hasenkamp    
  •  Nicholas Johnson    
  •  Rosanna Ianiro    
  •  Ricardo Izurieta    
  •  Miguel Reina Ortiz    


BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVES: The Zika virus, a member of the flavivirus genus, is an emerging threat to many tropical regions of the world. This study was designed to assess the level of knowledge, attitudes and concern in regards to the Zika virus in the community of Jarabacoa, Dominican Republic, with the hopes of guiding future efforts toward public education and prevention of future public health threats.

METHODS: A cross-sectional survey was conducted in the rural communities of Jarabacoa during October 2016 and October 2017. Individuals completed a 14-point survey evaluating: level of concern towards Zika (1=no concern, 3=neutral, 5=extremely concerned), knowledge level of the disease, use of personal protection against the virus, how people initially heard about the disease and contraception use.

RESULTS: Overall, women were more concerned than men about contracting the virus (p<.001, CI -2.510, -0.826). Of the respondents (N=138), 66% learned about Zika from the TV/news and 24.6% from their medical provider. 5% knew Zika was contracted from blood and 2% from pregnancy, and only 17% of respondents knew that it was contracted through sex. For protection from Zika, only 8% used condoms. Of the women trying to get pregnant, none knew Zika could be transmitted through sex.

CONCLUSION: This study revealed that women were more concerned about the Zika virus than men and that knowledge about the virus was limited. In general, people are protecting themselves against vector borne transmission but not non-vector borne modes of transmission such as sexual intercourse. Also, public health education is lacking. Further studies are needed with more male participants, focus on contraception and social media’s effect on public health education.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.