Community-based dengue prevention programs in Puerto Rico: impact on knowledge, behavior, and residential mosquito infestation.

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  • 1 Department of International Health, School of Hygiene and Public Health, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland 21205-2179, USA.

Dengue is a major health burden in Puerto Rico. Televised public service announcements and posters, elementary and pre-school educational programs, and an exhibit at the Children's Museum in Old San Juan were evaluated separately using knowledge and practices surveys administered to children and their parents, surveys of house lots for larval container habitats, focus groups, and interviews with program organizers and participants. Exposure to the programs was associated with increased dengue-related knowledge, increased proportion of tires protected from rain, decreased proportion of water storage containers positive for mosquito larvae, and increased indoor use of aerosol insecticides. Exposure to the elementary school program was associated with slightly lower indices of residential mosquito infestation. The programs have resulted in high levels of awareness, some behavior change, and limited change in larval indices. Greater emphasis on the skills necessary for community members to keep containers free of mosquito larvae would increase program effectiveness.