Knowledge of Zika Transmission Prevention Lags Among Patients; Education Helps- Providers Could Be More Knowledgeable and Proactive
Nov 01, 2017
Published in: ASRM Press Release
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR REPRODUCTIVE MEDICINE’S 2017 SCIENTIFIC CONGRESS & EXPO
Note: Press room open Sun. October 29, 2pm-5pm CDT; Mon. October 30-Wed. November 1, 8:00am-5:30pm CDT. 210-582-7029
San Antonio, TX- Several studies presented today at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine’s Congress and Expo pointed out that, while patients have some knowledge Zika virus, its effects, and avoiding transmission, more education by providers is needed and can be effective. These studies also show that while awareness is high among reproductive endocrinologists – many do not feel comfortable screening patients and knowledge of Zika symptoms is low.
At NYU Fertility Center, 153 patients trying to conceive, seen from January 2016 through March 2017 completed an anonymous survey. All were familiar with the Zika epidemic; most knew the way the virus is transmitted (92%) and its symptoms and prevention measures (80%), with most patients’ knowledge acquired through the media (81%). The survey showed that only 14% of patients knew that Zika infection could be asymptomatic and 71% had incorrect knowledge of the recommended time to delay pregnancy after possible exposure. Most (91%) made no changes to their reproductive plans, but 85% had changed travel plans due to fear of Zika exposure. Of 28 respondents who had visited Zika-affected areas, only 11 took measures to avoid pregnancy during the at-risk period.
Another study, from Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine surveyed physicians uniquely situated to counsel women pre-conceptually. Members of the Society for Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility (SREI) were invited to answer a web-based survey to measure their knowledge of Zika virus and CDC guidelines for its screening and prevention; 71 responded. All were aware of the CDC guidelines, however 31% were not comfortable screening patients. Most respondents who screen patients for their future plans to travel to endemic areas have been in practice for at least 20 years, while most who do not screen for travel plans are fellows. More than half the physicians surveyed exhibited gaps in their knowledge of the virus and its management- fewer than half did not correctly identify all modes of transmission or the correct timeline for waiting to attempt pregnancy after exposure. The overwhelming majority did not correctly identify all symptoms associated with Zika virus infection.
Using primary and follow-up surveys, a team from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center demonstrated that patients do benefit from educational efforts. Patients, resident physicians, and faculty at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology were invited to complete a knowledge-based multiple-choice questionnaire about Zika virus infection. After turning it in, participants were given a one-page handout containing information on Zika from public health organizations. As expected, physicians answered correctly significantly more often than patients did on the first round. Two weeks to six weeks later, participants answered the same questionnaire a second time. Patients’ percentage of correct answers rose dramatically this time; physicians’ performance did not change from the first survey. The survey did highlight some areas in which physicians’ knowledge was deficient: only 33% could identify Zika virus symptoms and 3% identified CDC travel warning areas.
“Physicians need to educate themselves to more effectively screen and manage their patients who have been exposed- or could be exposed- to Zika virus to ensure the best outcomes for them. Patient education is essential, as well, and can be as easy as putting a pamphlet in someone’s hand and advising them to read it,” ASRM Immediate Past President, Owen Davis, MD remarked.
P-582 Tiegs et al, THE IMPACT OF ZIKA VIRUS ON REPRODUCTIVE PLANNING IN AN INFERTILE POPULATION.
P-584 Vega et al, ZIKA VIRUS - HOW WELL DO PHYSICIANS ADHERE TO PUBLISHED GUIDELINES?
P-583 Raman et al, KNOWLEDGE, ATTITUDES AND PRACTICES REGARDING ZIKA VIRUS IN PATIENTS PRESENTING FOR INFERTILITY TREATMENT AND HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS
More on Zika Virus:
P-579 Cassara et al, SEROPREVALENCE OF ZIKA VIRUS IN AN IVF CLINIC IN SÃO PAULO - BRAZIL
P-580 Dickson et al, KNOWLEDGE, ATTITUDES AND PRACTICES OF PATIENTS OF A FERTILITY CLINIC IN A ZIKA-ENDEMIC CARIBBEAN COUNTRY
P-581 Aly et al, ZIKA VIRUS AWARENESS AMONGST PATIENTS SEEKING CONCEPTION VERSUS REPRODUCTIVE ENDOCRINOLOGY PHYSICIANS
ASRM is a multidisciplinary organization dedicated to the advancement of the science and practice of reproductive medicine. The Society accomplishes its mission through the pursuit of excellence in education and research and through advocacy on behalf of patients, physicians, and affiliated health care providers. The Society is committed to facilitating and sponsoring educational activities for the lay public and continuing medical education activities for professionals who are engaged in the practice of and research in reproductive medicine. www.asrm.org
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