Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública
On-line version ISSN 1680-5348
Print version ISSN 1020-4989
AVILA MONTES, Gustavo et al. Knowledge, beliefs and practices about Chagas' disease in central Honduras. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 1998, vol.3, n.3, pp.158-163. ISSN 1680-5348. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1020-49891998000300003.
From November to December 1991 and in March 1993 a survey was conducted in 17 rural communities located in Central Honduras. The communities belonged to two areas where Chagas' disease is endemic. In one of them, disease control activities had been conducted. A total of 849 adults, one in each of an equal number of households, was interviewed. The objective of the survey was to investigate and compare in both locations knowledge about Chagas' disease and its routes of transmission, measures aimed at avoiding the presence of triatomines within households, beliefs surrounding the vector and its control, and the population's sources of information about the disease. A 23-item questionnaire was tested and precoded. Almost 100% of the subjects who were surveyed were able to identify the vector and to describe its habits, but only 30,1% knew that Triatoma is the vector for the disease and only about 6% associated it with a chronic heart condition. Around 47,9% of survey subjects indicated that eliminating triatomines from households is a personal responsibility, although 78% identified as the control measure the institutional application of insecticides. Personal contact between a health worker and community members was the chief source of information for those who mentioned having heard of Chagas' disease (41,0%). These results suggest that health education should be included as a component in the planification of control programs. The role played by triatomines in disease transmission should be emphasized, as well as the importance of carrying out household improvements, with community participation, as an effective and sustainable measure. To achieve greater impact, this component should be developed through interpersonal communication channels.