Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

MS Human Genetics


Human Genetics Graduate Program


Zika virus (ZIKV) was first identified in 1945 in Uganda’s Zika forest. The 2015 Brazil outbreak identified the ZIKV as a teratogen, leading to a heightened awareness in prenatal care in the United States. ZIKV is primarily transmitted via mosquitoes; however, vertical transmission from mother to fetus has also been reported. Intrauterine fetal infection is associated with Congenital Zika Syndrome, characterized by severe microcephaly with loss of brain tissue, macular atrophy, postnatal hypertonia and limited joint movements. Given their expertise in prenatal education and teratogen counseling, genetic counselors (GCs) may be uniquely suited to provide prenatal ZIKV care. Our goal was to assess the role of GCs in prenatal ZIKV care. A survey was distributed to practicing GCs through the National Society of Genetic Counselor’s member listserv. The survey focused on the GCs’ knowledge of ZIKV care, comfort providing ZIKV counseling, their current role in their institution, and their opinion on the role of a GC in prenatal ZIKV care. Other demographics were collected to investigate other possible correlations. The study showed that GCs with experience in providing ZIKV counseling were more comfortable providing prenatal ZIKV care. However, this comfort did not correlate with their tested knowledge.

Included in

Genetics Commons