Half of Americans Concerned Zika Will Spread to Their Neighborhoods

New Survey from the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania; Interviews Conducted by SSRS

Half of Americans are concerned that the Zika virus spreading throughout Latin America will reach their neighborhoods, according to a survey conducted this month by the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania.

The Annenberg Science Knowledge (ASK) survey shows a high level of awareness but also confusion and misinformation about the virus, which may be linked to increases in Brazil of microcephaly, a rare neurological condition, and in Latin America of Guillain-Barré syndrome, an autoimmune disorder.

While the vast majority of Americans (91 percent) know that mosquitoes transmit the Zika virus to humans, a third of the respondents (35 percent) incorrectly think that genetically modified or transgenic mosquitoes have caused the outbreak of Zika in Brazil. But genetically modified mosquitoes are not responsible for the outbreak, according to SciCheck, part of the Annenberg Public Policy Center’s award-winning FactCheck.org.

Nearly two-thirds of Americans are optimistic that scientists at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) will have developed a vaccine for Zika by the end of the summer.