Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 27802275
PLoS Negl Trop Dis 2016 11;10(11):e0005081
BACKGROUND: During the last decade, French Guiana has been affected by major dengue fever outbreaks. Although this arbovirus has been a focus of many awareness campaigns, very little information is available about beliefs, attitudes and behaviors regarding vector-borne diseases among the population of French Guiana. During the first outbreak of the chikungunya virus, a quantitative survey was conducted among high school students to study experiences, practices and perceptions related to mosquito-borne diseases and to identify socio-demographic, cognitive and environmental factors that could be associated with the engagement in protective behaviors.
METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: A cross-sectional survey was administered in May 2014, with a total of 1462 students interviewed. Classrooms were randomly selected using a two-stage selection procedure with cluster samples. A multiple correspondence analysis (MCA) associated with a hierarchical cluster analysis and with an ordinal logistic regression was performed. Chikungunya was less understood and perceived as a more dreadful disease than dengue fever. The analysis identified three groups of individual protection levels against mosquito-borne diseases: “low” (30%), “moderate” (42%) and “high” (28%)”. Protective health behaviors were found to be performed more frequently among students who were female, had a parent with a higher educational status, lived in an individual house, and had a better understanding of the disease.
CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: This study allowed us to estimate the level of protective practices against vector-borne diseases among students after the emergence of a new arbovirus. These results revealed that the adoption of protective behaviors is a multi-factorial process that depends on both sociocultural and cognitive factors. These findings may help public health authorities to strengthen communication and outreach strategies, thereby increasing the adoption of protective health behaviors, particularly in high-risk populations.