Dengue in Acapulco: Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices, 2004

Outbreaks of dengue fever have been occurring in the tropical lowlands of Mexico and Central America with growing frequency. Efforts by the health authorities to control them by have been largely ineffective.

To measure knowledge, attitudes and practices concerning dengue in the year 2004, CIET conducted a survey in thirteen residential clusters within the port city of Acapulco covering 1412 households and 6678 inhabitants. Besides administering a questionnaire in each household, the survey teams inspected possible breeding sites for the dengue-carrying mosquito, Aedes Aegypti. 

Almost everyone had some knowledge related to dengue, such as the role of the mosquito and its breeding habits. Less than a third knew all that is needed to deal with the problem adequately. Where the presence of mosquito larvae was detected by inspection the major factor involved was failure to cover water containers adequately. Only one in four households had their water containers properly covered.

A graduate student supported by CIET researchers also conducted a survey of children in 24 primary and 12 secondary schools of Acapulco about their knowledge of dengue and how to control it. Only 11% had an adequate knowledge of the illness and only 8% a correct conception of how it is transmitted. But the children and young people’s readiness to take part in control of mosquito-breeding within their own households was very high. If school instruction about dengue were improved, these youngsters could be a powerful resource for replacing current top-down dengue control efforts with more promising community and household-based solutions.

In Decemberf 2009 CIET launched Camino Verde: a randomised controlled cluster trial in Mexico and Nicaragua to reduce dengue risk though evidence-based community mobilisation.

In January 2012 a special website for the Camino Verde project was created in Spanish: