Press Releases

< Back to Press Releases

February 08, 2016

Half of Doctors Think There’s No Way to Avoid a Zika Virus Outbreak in the U.S.

68 percent of 4,085 global doctors think travel warnings should be extended

NEW YORK — SERMO, the leading global social network for physicians and largest health care professional polling company announced the results of a SERMOsays sentiment poll today that found 49 percent of 2,315 United States doctors think that a Zika Virus outbreak is inevitable no matter what measures officials take and 29 percent of doctors believe that an outbreak can only be prevented if there are significant increases in funding, travel limitations, research and prevention measures such as mosquito eradication. Twenty-two percent said they think current measures being taken by officials are sufficient to contain the Zika Virus. Prior SERMO polls also found that:

  • 68% of 4,085 global doctors think travel warnings should be extended beyond pregnant women to include all women of fertile ages
  • 59% of 2,241 U.S. doctors think that lab tests for Zika Virus should be available at local/state public health laboratories in addition to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC); 33% want testing at their facility and 8% said it should be only offered at the CDC

The Zika Virus has been a hot topic on the SERMO social network with doctors from around the world sharing knowledge, resources and opinions in more than twenty discussion posts.

“There are other diseases carried by mosquitos. In spite of fears and knowledge, these diseases continue to spread and so do mosquitos,” A hematologist/oncologist said. “Other diseases are worse, so whatever is done will be too little, too late. As far as sexual transmission, safe sex has been advocated for years, but STDs are on the rise. The major serious problem is microcephaly. Screening for this and later than usual abortion may limit this problem.”

A gastroenterologist said, “The natural history of the disease is unclear. Until the information we have is accurate, the chances of fear driven overreaction may be justified. It would be politically suicidal for public health authorities to act in any manner other than with a sense of alarm. Every child born with microcephaly, whatever the cause, will continue to be a fear poster for Zika. Call it the ISIS of medicine!”

Dr. James M. Wilson, Nevada State Infectious Disease Forecast Station, School of Community Health Science, University of Nevada-Reno, added his thoughts on the potential for an outbreak in the U.S.

He said, “It is our assessment that sustained epidemic transmission of Zika in the United States is highly unlikely except for potential transmission in local areas in California, Texas and Florida, where there are large populations of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. However, I believe the Zika virus is a national security issue and all fertile adults should be cautious in traveling abroad.”

There have also been numerous posts on the SERMO network asking for more information about the virus as well as the birth defect (microencephaly) and neurological disorder (Guillain Barre Syndrome) that might be associated with it. A post from Dr. Wilson soliciting questions about the virus was commented on by 43 global doctors and viewed by 560 global physicians.

“This international public health emergency is a great example of how SERMO can help improve public health around the world,” said Peter Kirk, CEO of SERMO. “Doctors are coming together across borders and geographies to share what they’re seeing to learn about the virus and the terrible conditions it is associated with. They are also asking questions to help with their practices. The network has become a instrumental resource for real-world physicians at this time of need.”

A family medicine doctor asked her peers on SERMO for advice on how to get a patient tested for Zika Virus.

She said, “We have a pregnant patient who traveled to one of the Zika affected areas, then presented back here with symptoms consistent with Zika. We have been trying for three days to find a lab to pick up a specimen (or allow her to go to their draw station) to have it tested at our official state lab for Zika testing. Both Lab Corp and the hospital lab we normally use are saying they can't or won't or have to check or don't return calls. Our state and local health department could not help other than telling us they have heard other complaints about Lab Corp.”

She received assistance from 10 doctors including advice to contact the CDC. She followed that advice and learned that the CDC is working with Lab Corp and Quest. However, her local hospital agreed to transport the specimens to the state lab for testing.

The margin of error for the three polls when projecting to active SERMO members is ±2 percent. For more information about the scientific methodology of SERMO polls, please go to http://www.sermo.com/polls.


About SERMO

SERMO is the leading social network for physicians – the world’s largest virtual doctors’ lounge where doctors talk real world medicine. SERMO’s mission is to revolutionize real world medicine by providing physicians a safe, private and trusted platform for free and open dialogue on an unprecedented global scale. SERMO has more than 500,000 fully verified and licensed members and is now available for doctors in fifteen countries: Argentina, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, the UK and the US.

SERMO is also the world’s largest healthcare professional polling company with 1.8 million HCPs in both the social network and a digital research network, spanning 80 countries. SERMO conducts 700,000 surveys a year.

Learn more at www.SERMO.com

Media Contacts:
Randi Kahn, Public Relations Manager, SERMO
randi.kahn@sermo.com;
o: +1.212.358.0800 x967
m: +1.631.697.8310

Cassidy Lawson, Racepoint Global
clawson@racepointglobal.com;
o:+1.202.517.1378

Osnat Benshoshan, Chief Marketing Officer, SERMO
osnat.benshoshan@sermo.com