"Eight to ten years ago, dengue was a killer disease...but it is not a killer disease anymore:" a qualitative approach to dengue in Dhaka, Bangladesh

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Sultana, Afroza
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Dengue is a mosquito borne disease. Aedes mosquitoes, Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus in particular, are the vectors for dengue disease. Aedes mosquitoes feed mainly on humans, live in close proximity to humans, and breed in water containers. Although classical dengue is not considered harmful, dengue hemorrhagic fever may cause severe harm to individual health, including death. Every year, 100 millions dengue cases are reported globally along with 250,000 dengue hemorrhagic cases. Bangladesh has experienced several outbreaks of dengue since 2000, and most dengue cases were reported in Dhaka city. After realizing the ineffectiveness of the top-down approaches, community participations has been given importance and acknowledged by many as necessary for an effective dengue prevention program. This qualitative research explores community perceptions (knowledge, attitudes, and practice) of dengue fever with a special emphasis on the concepts of risk, power, and responsibility for dengue transmission and prevention. The research utilized survey questionnaires, in-depth interviews, focus group discussions, and informal field observations. Findings suggest that respondents do have knowledge that dengue is transmitted by mosquitoes, but they do not recognize the Aedes dengue mosquito or their breeding habits, associating dirty water rather than cleaned stored water with dengue risk. Moreover, respondents tend to underestimate dengue risk for various reasons, including daily stressors, a confidence in medical treatments, media silence, and publicity of dengue as a ‘virus jor.’ However, the respondents do believe that dengue prevention is possible with shared responsibility and collective action.