The progress—and PR—surrounding Zika

The first human trial of a vaccine is likely to begin in a few weeks. As scientists and doctors work toward prevention, there’s frustration about myths and motivations surrounding patient education.

Clinical trials for a Zika vaccine got the green light on Monday.

The news of the Food and Drug Administration’s go-ahead was tempered, however, by a new poll that suggests Americans have only limited awareness of the mosquito-borne virus.

The HealthDay/Harris Poll asked more than 2,000 adults last month about Zika, which can cause severe birth defects and brain abnormalities.

“There’s still more work to be done in educating the public, especially about transmission,” said Meghan Ross, senior associate editor of Pharmacy Times.

Striking results from the survey include these figures:

About 45 percent of respondents knew that Zika could be contracted through sexual transmission.

Some 55 percent of those surveyed knew the virus could cause brain damage in babies born to infected women.

Fewer than 50 percent of participants knew that a fetus could contract Zika from his or her mother.

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