Perceptions of Problems with Household Insects: Qualitative and Quantitative Findings from Peri-Urban Communities in Arequipa, Peru

Ricardo Castillo-Neyra Zoonotic Disease Research Lab, One Health Unit, School of Public Health and Administration, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, San Martín de Porres, Lima, Peru;
Department of Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Informatics, Perelman School of Medicine at University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania;

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Anika J. Larson University of Washington, School of Medicine, Seattle, Washington;

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Laura D. Tamayo Zoonotic Disease Research Lab, One Health Unit, School of Public Health and Administration, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, San Martín de Porres, Lima, Peru;

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Claudia Arevalo-Nieto Zoonotic Disease Research Lab, One Health Unit, School of Public Health and Administration, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, San Martín de Porres, Lima, Peru;

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Joanna Brown Asociacion Benefica Prisma, Lima, Peru;

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Carlos Condori-Pino Zoonotic Disease Research Lab, One Health Unit, School of Public Health and Administration, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, San Martín de Porres, Lima, Peru;

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Emma Ortega Department of Tropical Medicine, Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, Louisiana

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Michael Z. Levy Zoonotic Disease Research Lab, One Health Unit, School of Public Health and Administration, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, San Martín de Porres, Lima, Peru;
Department of Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Informatics, Perelman School of Medicine at University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania;

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Valerie A. Paz-Soldan Zoonotic Disease Research Lab, One Health Unit, School of Public Health and Administration, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, San Martín de Porres, Lima, Peru;
Department of Tropical Medicine, Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, Louisiana

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ABSTRACT.

Vector-borne diseases continue to impose a major health burden on Peru and neighboring countries. The challenge of addressing vector-borne disease is compounded by changing social, economic, and climatic conditions. Peri-urban Arequipa is an important region to study insect infestations because of ongoing challenges with disease vectors such as triatomines and a variety of other insects. We conducted surveys (N = 1,182) and seven focus groups (average seven participants) in peri-urban Arequipa to explore knowledge of and perception toward various insects that infest the region. Focus group participants reported the presence of a wide variety of insects in and around the home, including disease vectors such as triatomines (also identified by 27.2% of survey households), mosquitoes, spiders, and bed bugs, as well as nuisance insects. Health concerns related to insects included vector-borne diseases, spider bites, allergies, and sequelae from bed bug bites, and hygiene concerns. A majority of participants in the quantitative surveys identified triatomines as the insect they were most worried about (69.9%) and could identify Chagas disease as a health risk associated with triatomines (54.9%). Insect infestations in peri-urban Arequipa present multiple burdens to residents, including injury and illness from triatomines and other insects, as well as potential mental and economic concerns related to insects such as bed bugs. Future initiatives should continue to address triatomine infestations through educational outreach and implement a more holistic approach to address the burden of both disease and nuisance insects.

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Author Notes

Financial support: This study was supported by Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (R01HD075869) and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (R01AI146129) for V.A. Paz-Soldan, M.Z. Levy, and R. Castillo-Neyra, as well as the NIAID/NIH K01AI139284 for R. Castillo-Neyra.

Disclosure: Institutional review board approval was obtained from Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia (approval identification no: 65369), Tulane University (approval identification no: 14-606720), and University of Pennsylvania (approval identification no: 823736). Written consent to participate and to be audiotaped was obtained from all focus group participants.

Authors’ addresses: Ricardo Castillo-Neyra and Michael Z. Levy, Zoonotic Disease Research Lab, One Health Unit, School of Public Health and Administration, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima, Peru, and Department of Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Informatics, Perelman School of Medicine at University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, E-mails: cricardo@upenn.edu and mzlevy@pennmedicine.upenn.edu. Anika J. Larson, University of Washington, School of Medicine, Seattle, WA, E-mail: anikajlarson@gmail.com. Laura D. Tamayo, Claudia Arevalo-Nieto, and Carlos Condori-Pino, Zoonotic Disease Research Lab, One Health Unit, School of Public Health and Administration, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima, Peru, E-mails: lauratamayo41@gmail.com, arenica2@gmail.com, and carlosedcopino@gmail.com. Joanna Brown, Asociacion Benefica Prisma, Lima, Peru, E-mail: joannabrown84@gmail.com. Emma Ortega, Department of Tropical Medicine, Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, LA, E-mail: emmaortega27@gmail.com. Valerie A. Paz-Soldan, Zoonotic Disease Research Lab, One Health Unit, School of Public Health and Administration, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima, Peru, and Department of Tropical Medicine, Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, LA, E-mail: vpazsold@tulane.edu.

Address correspondence to Ricardo Castillo-Neyra, Department of Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Informatics, Perelman School of Medicine at University of Pennsylvania, 423 Guardian Dr., Office 715, Philadelphia, PA 19104. E-mail: cricardo@upenn.edu
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