In Ecuador, dengue virus (DENV) infections transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito are among the greatest public health concerns in urban coastal communities. Community- and household-level vector control is the principal means of controlling disease outbreaks. This study aimed to assess the impact of knowledge, attitudes, and practices (KAPs) and social-ecological factors on the presence or absence of DENV infections in the household.
In 2014 and 2015, individuals with DENV infections from sentinel clinics in Machala, Ecuador, were invited to participate in the study, as well as members of their household and members of four neighboring households located within 200 meters. We conducted diagnostic testing for DENV on all study participants; we surveyed heads of households (HOHs) regarding demographics, housing conditions and KAPs. We compared KAPs and social-ecological factors between households with (n = 139) versus without (n = 80) DENV infections, using bivariate analyses and multivariate logistic regression models with and without interactions.
Significant risk factors in multivariate models included proximity to abandoned properties, interruptions in piped water, and shaded patios (p<0.05). Significant protective factors included the use of mosquito bed nets, fumigation inside the home, and piped water inside the home (p<0.05). In bivariate analyses (but not multivariate modeling), DENV infections were positively associated with HOHs who were male, employed, and of younger age than households without infections (p<0.05). DENV infections were not associated with knowledge, attitude, or reported barriers to prevention activities.
Specific actions that can be considered to decrease the risk of DENV infections in the household include targeting vector control in highly shaded properties, fumigating inside the home, and use of mosquito bed nets. Community-level interventions include cleanup of abandoned properties, daily garbage collection, and reliable piped water inside houses. These findings can inform interventions to reduce the risk of other diseases transmitted by the Ae. aegypti mosquito, such as chikungunya and Zika fever.
Dengue, chikungunya and Zika viruses are transmitted to people primarily by the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes in tropical and subtropical regions. Diseases transmitted by the Ae. aegypti mosquito are a growing public health concern. Mosquito control is the principal means of preventing and controlling disease outbreaks. In this study, we compared the characteristics of households with and without DENV infections in the city of Machala, Ecuador. We found that risk factors for DENV infection included proximity to abandoned properties, interruptions in the piped water supply, and a highly shaded patio. Protective factors included the use of mosquito bed nets, fumigation inside the home, and piped water inside the home. These findings can be used to inform targeted interventions by the public health sector at the household and community levels.