In Texas, “knowledge gap” makes fighting Zika even harder

May 18, 2017

Credit Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The threat of the Zika virus is likely to return to Texas this summer, and, as KUT reports, one of the biggest difficulties health experts are coming up against is a gap in knowledge among citizens. A recent study conducted by the University of Texas’s Medical Branch has found that many vulnerable Texas women aren’t aware of their risk for infection. Likewise, many women in the state still don’t know how to protect themselves.

The mosquito-borne Zika virus has been linked to fetal brain defects in infected women who give birth.

One of the biggest knowledge gaps is that many women don’t know the disease isn’t just spread by mosquitos, but can also be contracted through sexual intercourse. Furthermore, 80 percent of the study’s respondents weren’t aware that infected people don’t necessarily show symptoms.

The study also uncovered a Zika stigma. Thirty percent of women said they would likely keep it a secret if they were diagnosed with the virus.

The Texas Department of State Health Services says they’re planning a campaign to educate Texas women this summer.