Received: March 02, 2012
Accepted: May 30, 2012
Ref: Goorah S, Dewkurun MK, Ramchurn SK. Assessing the sustainability of individual behavior change against mosquitoes after the outbreak of a vector-borne disease in Mauritius: a case study. Internet J Med Update. 2013 Jan;8(1):9-16.
Assessing the sustainability of individual behavior change against mosquitoes after the outbreak of a vector-borne disease in Mauritius: a case study
Smita Goorah* MRCP, Manisha K Dewkurun* BSc and Satish K Ramchurn** PhD
*Department of Medicine, **Department of Physics, University of Mauritius, Mauritius
(Corresponding Author: Dr. Smita Goorah, Department of Medicine, University of Mauritius, Mauritius; Mobile: +2307615481; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
The island of Mauritius had not experienced any mosquito-borne diseases since the last malaria outbreak in the early 1980s. When the chikungunya fever epidemic affected the island in 2005-2006, the local population was unprepared against this mosquito-borne infection and officially 11, 000 people were affected. Authorities promptly set up public health campaigns and actively encouraged the public to take preventive actions against the mosquito vector. This study has been carried out to investigate whether the individual preventive interventions adopted to combat mosquitoes during the outbreak have been sustained two years following the outbreak in a specific rural locality. Ethical clearance was obtained from the Research Ethics Committee of the University of Mauritius. Data was collected using a door-to-door household survey in a small rural locality of Mauritius in December 2008 and January 2009. One person per household was interviewed and the sample size was 172. Sustainability of individual preventive interventions was determined by assessing the preventive measures adopted by people against mosquitoes prior to, during, and two years following the outbreak. Elimination of mosquito breeding places was the most practiced preventive measure adopted by people in all outbreak periods as compared to preventive measures against mosquito bites within and outside the house. An increase in all individual preventive measures was observed during the outbreak followed by a slow decline two years following the outbreak. An important finding was that all post-outbreak preventive measures were sustained above the pre-outbreak levels, especially so in the case of source reduction interventions. Individual efforts in the inter-epidemic period are important to mitigate the spread of a mosquito-borne infection and it is encouraging to observe in this case study that although individual preventive measures decline with time after an outbreak they are still being sustained above the pre-outbreak levels.
KEY WORDS: Sustainability of behavior change; Vector-borne disease; Preventive measures; Post-outbreak period