Florida Public Health Review

Publication Date

May 2019


In 2016 and 2017, South Florida was involved in an outbreak of locally-transmitted Zika virus. This questionnaire- based descriptive pilot study demonstrated the presence of behaviors that may be associated with increased risk of Zika transmission in a sample of respondents selected from an institution of higher education in the region. The majority of the 101 respondents living in Miami-Dade County reported inconsistent or no use of mosquito bite prevention methods, over one third (38.6%) traveled to local areas of active transmission, and almost two thirds (64.7%) of those reporting that their sexual partners traveled to local zones of viral transmission did not use barrier protection. The majority of all respondents reported awareness that the virus can be spread by mosquito-borne and sexual transmission (99.0%), and that infection can be avoided by preventing mosquito bites (98.0%) and sexual transmission (96.0%). Over half (52.5%) did not believe they were at risk of infection. South Florida remains at risk of outbreaks due to ongoing travel between the area and regions reporting continued Zika transmission, year-round presence of the vector, and the virus’ ability transmit sexually. Further analysis is needed to determine whether findings are reproducible in the South Florida community.