A Cross-Sectional Survey of the Zika Virus and its Prevention: The Knowledge, Thoughts, and Beliefs of a Community of Residents in Caguas, Puerto Rico

Yaritza N. Reyes-Medina, Paola C. Andino-Figueroa, Xiovette N. Abrams-Maldonado, Zydnia N. Pineiro-Delgado, Kevin Pizarro-Miller, Alisha Subervi-Vázquez, Omar J. Concepción-Rivera, Natalia Coriano-Díaz, Loriann Dávila-Santiago, Luz D. De Jesús-Rodríguez, Yaniré I. Díaz-Ortiz, Paola N. Figueroa-Carrasquillo, Darinelys Figueroa-Cosme, Janice Gómez-Garay, Jessica C. Irizarry-Flores, Myrellis Márquez-Muñiz, Ruth Ríos-Motta, Liza I. Millán-Pérez, Marisol Peña-Orellana


Objective: The objective of this study was to explore the knowledge, thoughts, and beliefs regarding the Zika virus and its prevention in a community of residents in the municipality of Caguas, Puerto Rico, and elicit their concerns and perceptions of risk. Methods: A quantitative, non experimental, descriptive, cross-sectional correlational study was conducted in a community in Caguas, Puerto Rico. A structured questionnaire was administered to a sample of 158 residents, aged 21 and older, who participated voluntarily. The data were analyzed using SPSS version 17 via univariate and bivariate analysis. Results: Of 158 surveyed, 64.6% were women; with a population average of 53.85 years. Of the respondents who believed that they would be affected in some way if they were infected by the Zika virus, over half (52.3%) felt that the virus represented a significant threat to their emotional stability. Of those who perceived emotional threat, 39.5% (n=32) continued to study after completing high school (X2=9.217, p=0.027), 57.9% (n=55) had private health insurance (X2=6.325; p=0.042), and 67.9% (n=55) reported it was little or unlikely to become infected (X2= 6.783; p=0.034). Out of those concerned, 57.4% (n=54) considered Zika very or extremely severe (X2=22.827, p<0.001) and 98.9% (n=93) clean the house surroundings as a preventive measure (X2 = 4.951, p=0.026). Lack of interest was the most common reason identified for not complying with preventive actions by the residents (89.2%). Conclusion: The underestimation both of the risk concerning the Zika virus and of its consequences was evident. This study reaffirms the need to develop a network that effectively and constantly communicates risk estimates, doing so while addressing the specific needs within the communities served by that network. Community interventions aimed at improving the benefits of and reducing the risks associated with and the perceived barriers to preventive behaviors are needed.


Zika, Community, risk perception, preventive behaviors, emerging disease

Full Text:


Published by the University of Puerto Rico Medical Sciences Campus
Founded in 1982