Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública
Print version ISSN 1020-4989
SAN MARTIN, José Luis and PRADO, Mónica. Risk perception and strategies for mass communication on dengue in the Americas. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2004, vol.15, n.2, pp. 135-139. ISSN 1020-4989. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1020-49892004000200014.
Dengue is clearly a very serious public health problem. In the Americas the number of dengue cases has been increasing since the 1960s, and outbreaks of the disease have been occurring more frequently. Furthermore, the density of infestation with the disease vector, the Aedes aegypti mosquito, is high in the Americas. The general strategy for preventing and controlling dengue and dengue hemorrhagic fever is based on promoting behavior changes that lead to incorporating the community in controlling the disease, particularly the vector. In order to achieve this, mass communication programs on dengue should have two primary aims: converting information into practice and encouraging the community to take over prevention and control measures. The new generation of programs should be designed based on the local sanitation structure (water distribution and waste disposal) as well as information on community organizations and the roles of different family members. Furthermore, the new programs should incorporate all the following ten components: epidemiological surveillance, intersectoral actions, community participation, managing the environment and basic services, patient care, case reporting, education, using insecticides and vector control, training, and preparing for emergencies. Communication should be aimed at modifying the behavior of individuals and the community by empowering them to carry out prevention and control measures.
Keywords : dengue; promoción de la salud; participación comunitaria; comunicación social.