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Scope of Knowledge About Zika Among Women in US–Mexico Border Communities

Abstract

Maternal Zika virus infection (ZIKV) has serious health consequences for unborn offspring. Knowledge about prevention is critical to reducing risk, yet what women in the high-risk US–Mexico border region know about protecting themselves and their babies from ZIKV is mostly unknown. This study aimed to assess knowledge of ZIKV among pregnant and inter-conception women and to identify sources of information that might address knowledge gaps. Clients in five federally-funded, border region Healthy Start programs (N = 326) were interviewed in late 2016 about their knowledge of ZIKV prevention methods and whether they believed themselves or their babies to be at risk. Sources of information about ZIKV and demographic characteristics were also measured. Chi square tests identified important associations between variables; adjusted odds ratios (AOR) and 95% confidence intervals for knowledge and beliefs were calculated. Among the 305 women aware of ZIKV, 69.5% could name two ways to prevent infection. Only 16.1% of women named using condoms or abstaining from sex as a prevention method. While 75.3% heard about ZIKV first from TV/radio, just 9.5% found the information helpful. Women who received helpful information from health care providers had greater odds of knowing two prevention methods (AOR = 2.0; 1.1–3.7), when to test for ZIKV (AOR = 5.2; 2.1–13.2), and how long to delay pregnancy after infection in a male partner (AOR = 1.9; 1.1–3.2). Those who said web-based and social media sources were helpful had greater odds of knowing when to test for ZIKV (AOR = 2.8; 1.3–6.3). Results can inform messaging for safe pregnancy and ZIKV prevention.

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Correspondence to Jill A. McDonald.

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McDonald, J.A., Selchau, K. & Acquah-Baidoo, B. Scope of Knowledge About Zika Among Women in US–Mexico Border Communities. J Community Health 43, 705–716 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10900-018-0474-4

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Keywords

  • Zika
  • Education
  • Hispanic
  • Border
  • Pregnancy