Mosquito-borne infectious disease, risk-perceptions, and personal protective behavior among U.S. international travelers

Vector-borne diseases account for a significant amount of the global infectious disease burden, including morbidity and mortality. In particular, mosquito-borne infectious diseases (MBIDs) have the greatest burden in number of cases, mortality, and disability-adjusted life years and their prevention and control is critical. However, prevention efforts are hindered by the absence of vaccines and failure of long-term mosquito vector control for these MBIDs. Thus, personal protective behaviors (PPBs) may offer the most promising and effective mode of prevention. This study examines the impact of awareness, perceived susceptibility, and perceived severity for five MBIDs (e.g., Malaria, Dengue, Zika, Chikungunya and West Nile) on the adoption of PPBs. Study participants (n = 1043) were recruited from a probability-based internet panel of adult United States residents with a history of traveling outside of the country in the past year. Data were collected in the U.S. between June 7, 2017 and June 12, 2017. Our findings show that awareness of Zika disease among respondents was consistently associated with adoption of all three PPBs. Respondents that reported high-perceived severity for all five MBIDs were also more likely to report adopting the PPBs of wearing covering clothing and use of mosquito repellent spray. Our findings indicate that U.S. travelers are largely more concerned about Zika, Chikungunya, and Dengue than Malaria and West Nile and that these concerns drive their adoption of the three recommended PPBs. This information should inform the development and design of future public health campaigns for behavior modification to prevent MBIDs.

Publication Date:
Dec 01 2018
Date Submitted:
Jun 28 2019
Preventive Medicine Reports
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 Record created 2019-06-28, last modified 2019-07-24

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