Poll: 77 percent of Americans not seriously worried about Zika virus

WASHINGTON, Aug. 3 (UPI) — A new poll found 23 percent of Americans are at least somewhat worried about contracting the Zika virus while 77 percent are not seriously concerned.

The CNN/ORC poll conducted between July 29 and July 31 that was released Wednesday reports that 5 percent of respondents said they were “very worried” about themselves or someone in their family contracting the Zika virus.

About 18 percent said they were “somewhat worried,” while 30 percent said they were “not too worried” and 47 percent said they were “not worried at all.” The poll has a 3 percent margin of error.

Nearly half of Americans — 46 percent — are “somewhat confident” the U.S. government can prevent a nationwide Zika epidemic, the poll reports. About 16 percent said they were “very confident” over the government’s capacity, while 22 percent said they were “not very confident,” 15 percent said they were “not confident at all” and 1 percent had no opinion.

The poll is released as the number of local transmissions of the Zika virus in South Florida has increased to 14, according to Florida Gov. Rick Scott. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday issued a travel warning advising pregnant women and their partners to avoid traveling to a small neighborhood north of downtown Miami.

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It is the first time the CDC has issued a travel warning for a U.S. neighborhood over fears of contracting an infectious disease.

The Zika epidemic is blamed on the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, which transmits the Zika virus — along with dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever. Hospitalizations and fatalities are rare, with symptoms such as rash and fever lasting from a few days to one week. The virus was first isolated from a monkey in Uganda’s Zika forest in 1947.

The Zika virus is also linked to instances of microcephaly — a developmental defect resulting in a smaller-than-normal head or brain — in newborns.

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