Zika Prevention Behaviors Among Women of Reproductive Age in Puerto Rico, 2016


      Zika virus is primarily transmitted through mosquito bites. Because Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause serious birth defects, reproductive-aged women need protection from Zika virus infection. This report describes Zika virus prevention behaviors among women aged 18–49 years and assesses whether pregnancy status and healthcare provider counseling increases Zika virus prevention behaviors.


      A population-based cell phone survey of women aged 18–49 years living in Puerto Rico was conducted in July–November 2016. Data were analyzed in 2018–2019. Prevalence estimates and 95% CIs were calculated for Zika virus prevention behaviors. Adjusted prevalence ratios were estimated to examine the association of pregnancy status with healthcare provider counseling on Zika virus prevention behaviors, controlling for age, education, and health insurance status.


      Most women reported using screens on open doors/windows (87.7%) and eliminating standing water in/around their homes (92.3%). Other Zika virus prevention behaviors were less common (<33%). In adjusted analysis, pregnant women were more likely than women not at risk for unintended pregnancy to report using mosquito repellent every/most days (adjusted prevalence ratio=1.44, 95% CI=1.13, 1.85). Healthcare provider counseling was associated with receiving professional spraying/larvicide treatment (adjusted prevalence ratio=1.42, 95% CI=1.17, 1.74), sleeping under a bed net (adjusted prevalence ratio=2.37, 95% CI=1.33, 4.24), using mosquito repellent (adjusted prevalence ratio=1.57, 95% CI=1.40, 1.77), and wearing long sleeves/pants (adjusted prevalence ratio=1.32, 95% CI=1.12, 1.55).


      Receipt of healthcare provider counseling was more consistently associated with Zika virus prevention behaviors than pregnancy status. Healthcare provider counseling is an important strategy for increasing the uptake of Zika virus prevention behaviors among women aged 18–49 years.
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