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APHA Scientific Session and Event Listing

Role of lifestyle characteristics and risk perceptions in preventing West Nile virus disease

Negar Elmieh, MS, MPH1, Hadi Dowlatabadi, PhD1, and Elizabeth Casman, PhD2. (1) Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability, University of British Columbia, AERL Building, 2202 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada, 604-961-7787, nelmieh@interchange.ubc.ca, (2) Department of Engineering and Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon University, Baker Hall 129, 5000 Forbes Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15213

There are three measures through which a community can limit cases of West Nile virus (WNV): (1) avoidance: behavioral measures among individuals to reduce exposure to vectors, (2) repulsion: application of chemicals to deter mosquito bites, and (3) extermination: the application of pesticides to kill vectors. In order to better understand how people conceptualize WNV prevention measures, a questionnaire was administered to individuals and public health experts in four areas across Canada with varying risk criteria. The questionnaire was designed to quantitatively estimate perceptions associated with WNV, pesticide spray campaigns using malathion, and potential alternatives (including, no action and use of DEET). The results of the study were used to parameterize PAMSE, a Probabilistic Assessment model of Malathion Spray Exposures, for calculating malathion exposure from WNV control spraying programs. Results show that certain lifestyle characteristics can lead to pesticide exposure levels over the allowable Margin of Exposure (MOE). Such a systematic characterization may lead to more effective interventions than has been possible to date, and should be helpful in targeting future risk communications towards behaviors and attitudes that put people at risk of adverse health impacts from WNV control pesticide applications.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Environmental Exposures, West Nile Encephalitis

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Not Answered

Addressing the Right to Health

The 134th Annual Meeting & Exposition (November 4-8, 2006) of APHA