Analysis of Children's Perception of Triatomine Vectors of Chagas Disease through Drawings: Opportunities for Targeted Health Education

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Abstract

Chagas disease is a tropical parasitic disease affecting about 10 million people, mostly in the Americas, and transmitted mainly by triatomine bugs. Insect vector control with indoor residual insecticides and the promotion of housing improvement is the main control intervention. The success of such interventions relies on their acceptance and appropriation by communities, which depends on their knowledge and perceptions of both the disease and the vector. In this study, we investigated school-aged children's knowledge and perception on triatomine vectors and Chagas disease to further understand how communities view this vector and the disease in Yucatan, Mexico. We performed an analysis of children's drawings on the theme of triatomines and their house in several rural villages, to explore in an open-ended manner their views, understanding and misconceptions. A total of 261 drawings were collected from children ages 6–12 from four villages. We found that children are very familiar with triatomine vectors, and know very well many aspects of their biology and ecology, and in particular their blood-feeding habits. On the other hand, their drawings suggest that the role of triatomines as vectors of a chronic and severe cardiac disease is less understood, and the main perceived health threat appears limited to the bite itself, as previously observed in adults. These results have important implications for the specific design of future education materials and campaigns, and for the promotion of the inclusion of children in raising Chagas disease awareness in these endemic communities.

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Yevstigneyeva, V., Camara-Mejia, J., & Dumonteil, E. (2014). Analysis of Children’s Perception of Triatomine Vectors of Chagas Disease through Drawings: Opportunities for Targeted Health Education. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 8(10). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0003217

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