Perceptions of measures to control Aedes mosquitoes and mosquito-borne diseases in Costa Rica
Bandzuh IV, John Thomas
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Aedes mosquitoes are responsible for the transmission of several arboviruses throughout tropical and subtropical regions of the world. In the Americas, Aedes aegypti is the most competent vector of dengue, chikungunya, Zika, and yellow fever. With up to 400 million cases globally each year, dengue fever is the fastest growing vector-borne disease in the world, and it has become an increasingly significant risk to global health. In the Western Hemisphere, dengue, and more recently chikungunya and Zika, exists throughout much of Latin America and the Caribbean. Both diseases are spread via Aedes mosquitoes and both constitute major health risks in Costa Rica. A dengue outbreak in Costa Rica in 2013 was the largest epidemic in the country since the return of the disease in 1993. Moreover, between 2014 and 2015 there was a 54.9% increase in dengue cases in Costa Rica, further demonstrating the relevancy of research on mosquito-borne diseases. Given this context, this study employs qualitative methods to critically investigate measures to combat Aedes mosquito-borne diseases in Costa Rica. Data were collected using household interviews (n = 80); semi-structured key informant interviews with public health officials, researchers, nonprofit organizations, and community leaders (n = 22); and a focus group discussion in each of two study areas. The results provide broad and place-specific information about mosquito control efforts and other actions deployed in Costa Rica to mitigate mosquito-borne diseases. The data reveal differences in perceptions and disease incidence among household interviewees as well as where households source information about mosquitoes and mosquito-borne diseases. Varying degrees of knowledge on mosquitoes and mosquito-borne diseases were uncovered across the study sites, as were differing attitudes among the general population regarding mosquito control techniques (e.g., fumigation, education campaigns, and household visits by public health officials). Additionally, data indicated a gap in knowledge regarding the ability of the public to report mosquito-related problems to health authorities. Households also exhibited discrepancies in knowledge pertaining to chikungunya transmission and details about the vector.
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