Last updated: 09:48 AM ET, Thu July 21 2016

WebMD Survey Illustrates Fear and Concern Surrounding Zika's Spread

Impacting Travel | Gabe Zaldivar | July 21, 2016

WebMD Survey Illustrates Fear and Concern Surrounding Zika's Spread

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Human health website WebMD takes the temperature in the room regarding the outbreak of the Zika virus.

The website recently published a report based on its survey of 2,714 WebMD users who sounded off on their various thoughts and fears regarding the mosquito-borne illness that leads to the microcephaly birth defect.

The most immediate takeaway from the report is that Zika’s coverage has certainly put the virus on the radar.

Respondents are aware of the dangers and are acting in kind.

It’s of particular concern to those who took the survey. For example, 45 percent of respondents put their fear of an American outbreak at a “very concerned” level.

And when people they know are pregnant, that fear is only exacerbated. The survey states that 51 percent are “very concerned” of a national outbreak when they actually know someone in varied stages of pregnancy.

Dana Meaney-Delman is an obstetrician-gynecologist and serves on the CDC Zika Virus Response’s Pregnancy and Birth Defects Task Force and she offered thoughts on the numbers listed above: “The concern for others stood out. To me, this implies a responsibility to protect pregnant women, and direct family members seem to be feeling that the most.”

The report also illustrates ramifications Zika has had on travel at large. As noted by WebMD and others. Some athletes have already decided to refrain from participating in the Summer Olympics — despite training for years to get the opportunity to compete.

That sentiment has overwhelmingly spread to tourists contemplating travel to Rio de Janeiro and other places where Zika has become an issue.

WebMD puts the number of tourists who are negating travel to these areas at a whopping 85 percent, illustrating how even moderate concern can sway plans.

Meaney-Delman stated the concern is readily prevalent in women, especially those who are pregnant or are thinking of becoming pregnant.

Thankfully, the survey doesn’t just supply a basis for a national trepidation or traveling and spending time outdoors. It also offers some advice to all people worried about mosquitoes this summer.

Meaney-Delman once again advises pregnant women to stay clear of locations affected by the spread of the virus. And to male counterparts, condom use or abstinence should be adhered to once returning from travel to such destinations.

READ MORE: VIDEO: Mark Murphy Takes on Summer Travel Trends and Topics 

While American cases have been relegated to travelers returning from Zika-affected countries, there are things one can do to limit the spread, such as removing standing water, wearing long clothing and wearing repellant. These are steps many respondents have taken in their own summer exploits.

Hansa Bhargava, MD, WebMD Medical Editor. stated that the numbers show an overwhelming movement towards caution.

As Bhargava offered, this is a good thing during an ongoing global outbreak: “Our survey shows that people are aware of Zika and willing to take action. That’s currently the best way they can fight this mosquito-borne disease and protect themselves and the unborn children it can affect.”

Until there is a readily available vaccine, it seems travelers and summer enthusiasts are fighting a horrible virus with safety precautions and classic remedies.


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