77% of physicians think US Government is not doing enough to warn about disease
Despite the onset of spring and the reemergence of mosquitos, 20% of pregnant or would-be pregnant women polled in the US in April still have not heard news regarding the Zika virus—a figure that has persisted since an initial poll in February. Data are from a new automated tracking survey gauging sentiments from OBGYNs and their patients, performed by InCrowd, a provider of real-time market intelligence to life sciences and healthcare firms.
The new April data show a decrease in concerns about the Zika virus among pregnant and would-be pregnant patients compared to just two months ago, with 43% expressing concern in February and 38% in April. This dip in concern is not statistically significant, though it demonstrates that fears remain consistent over the last few months.
“Tracking studies like these are vital to monitoring public health threats over time in order to spot concerning trends and move swiftly to take action,” said Diane Hayes, Ph.D, president and co-founder of InCrowd and an epidemiologist by background. “US OBGYNs clearly are more concerned about the Zika virus today among their patient base. Whether US pregnant women or considering-becoming pregnant women surveyed are growing weary of the Zika virus topic, or just more informed and thus less concerned, is hard to tell. We’ll continue monitoring this public health challenge in the months to come.”
Physicians appear to be implementing more precautions for their patients, with a reported statistically significant increase in the ordering of more frequent sonograms for at-risk women, with 36% ordering them in February and 56% in April. Other findings include:
- In light of Zika concerns, the vast majority of OBGYNs are advising women not to travel to certain countries while pregnant or attempting to become pregnant, as well as asking patients about their recent and upcoming travel destinations.
- Significantly fewer OBGYNs thought that the US government was taking strong enough precautions against the Zika virus, a figure that dropped from 30% in February to 23% in April.
The majority of physicians—77%—in April still believe that the US Government is not doing enough to warn about disease:
- In February only 30% of OBGYNs thought the US Government was taking strong enough precautions, and that number has dropped to 23% in April.
At the same time, pregnant women and those considering becoming pregnant reflect a mixed response on Zika virus concerns compared to two months ago:
- Significantly more patient reported having conversations with their healthcare providers regarding the Zika virus—at 17.8% in April, compared to just 4.7% in February.
- Yet certain barometers of at-risk patient concern about the virus all showed slight, non-significant declines in April from February:
- Percent expressing concern about travel to certain countries (now 57%, down from 66%).
- There has also been a decrease in friends being concerned about Zika virus (down from 35% in February to 24% in April).
- The average number of Zika virus-related conversations with family and friends (now 1.48 conversations in previous week, down from 2.13).
- A statistically similar number of OBGYNs in the April microsurvey rated their patients as concerned about Zika, down from 37% in February to 31% in April.
This Zika virus perception tracking survey (Wave 2) used InCrowd’s mobile microsurvey platform to assess the responses of 70 qualified US-based OBGYNs who each have 20 or more pregnant patients under their care monthly. Responses were fielded in a several-hour period on April 7, 2016. The tracking survey also included 200 US Women ages 18-45, who are currently pregnant or are considering becoming pregnant in the next 12 months. Pregnant/would-be pregnant respondents were fielded on April 11 and 12, 2016 and included:
- 26% (52) currently pregnant
- 30% (60) considering becoming pregnant in 3-6 months
- 44% (88) considering becoming pregnant in 6-12 months
The February Zika virus study (Wave 1), captured data from 220 individuals. These included 70 US-based gynecologists or OB/GYNs with a minimum of 20 expectant patients, who as a group had an average of 100 expectant patients, and 70 trying-to-get-expectant patients. Physicians survey fielded on February 4 and 5, 2016. The patients survey included 150 women between ages 18-45 who responded between February 6 and 7, 2016, with:
- 17% (26) who were pregnant
- 35% (53) who were considering becoming pregnant in 3-6 months
- 47% (71) who were considering becoming pregnant in 6-12 months