Environmental Science and Management

Second Major



Couret, Jannelle

Advisor Department

Biological Sciences


LeBrun, Roger

Advisor Department

Plant Sciences and Entomology




Health Studies is not listed on the major option. I chose environmental science and management since global and environmental health cannot be selected.


Chikungunya virus; Zika virus; Mosquito-borne Diseases; Epidemiology; KAP Survey; Guatemala


As no vaccine currently exists for the Chikungunya virus (CHKV), mosquito control and efficient public health campaigns are crucial for the prevention of disease propagation. The purpose of this research project is to identify populations particularly at-risk for acquiring Chikungunya, and to explore the role that cultural attitudes may play in impacting mosquito-borne disease. Due to its geographical structure and climate, Guatemala is an ideal territory for the spread of emerging and re-emerging mosquito-borne diseases. This project was developed by collaborating with the public governmental health clinic in the municipal town of Teculután, in the department of Zacapa in Guatemala. Over 100 epidemiological records of diagnosed CHKV cases and associated etiologic and demographic information were collected from the local public health clinic in Teculután, Guatemala. Data were analyzed using exploratory data visualization, comparing the demographics of suspected and confirmed CHKV cases to the population of Teculután as a whole. The most affected population was housewives, demonstrating the mosquito preference of lingering indoors.

A secondary aim of this research project is to quantify the level of knowledge of local residents about mosquito behavior, mosquito-borne diseases, and the practices taken to prevent mosquito bites. I conducted interviews with the local health center coordinator/doctor and nurses. They shared their experiences in treating, preventing and controlling the current epidemic of mosquito-borne diseases in the town of Teculután. The results of the interviews demonstrated a lack of awareness of risk and low perception of disease risk by the population, which may ultimately contribute to the current mosquito-borne virus epidemic in the town of Teculután.

Based on the preliminary interview results and similar studies in other locations, I developed a knowledge, attitudes, practices (KAP) survey to assess the knowledge and attitudes of Teculután residents about CHKV and Zika viruses, mosquito behavior, breeding habits, mosquito control, as well as the preventative practices used to reduce and prevent mosquito bites. This survey was reviewed by a panel of experts at URI. Once administered, the results can be used to inform a local public education campaign to reduce the burden of mosquito-borne disease.