202146 Leveraging underused community assets to establish a mosquito larvae monitoring system: Report of a two year project

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sandy Hoar, PGDip, MPAS, PA-C , Health Sciences and Global Health, George Washington University, Washington, DC
OBJECTIVE: Develop a community-based early warning system for dengue fever in rural eastern Mexico.

METHODS: 5th and 6th grade students studied disease epidemiology and the entire school learned the life cycle of mosquitoes, usual locations of standing water, and methods to prevent it. Year 1 the students identified standing water and searched for larvae near their school. Year 2 students searched for standing water in the entire town, took photographs and GPS readings, searched for larvae, and explained prevention of mosquito growth to landowners.

RESULTS: Students identified both trash and dengue as current regional problems. Year 1 the students identified standing water especially in trash, and insects, though not mosquito larvae. Year 2 the students identified multiple sites with trash, standing water, and mosquito larvae. Their data was given to local and regional officials and prevention efforts initiated before the first case of dengue in the town.

CONCLUSIONS: Developing countries have few resources for surveillance and prevention of mosquito-borne disease but students are an often overlooked asset--they have boundless energy and interest, they want to serve their community, and they will become the adults making decisions. The students understood why trash promotes standing water, delighted in educating the town adults, and took all the photographs and GPS readings during non-school hours. Their data galvanized politicians to institute prevention efforts. Towns trying to establish monitoring of public health indicators should consider working with students of all ages to help expand the community's effectiveness and participation.

Learning Objectives:
1. Explain 3 ways to use elementary school students to monitor public health indicators. 2. Discuss the benefits of incorporating students in public health projects. 3. Design a community-based early warning system for mosquito-borne disease.

Keywords: Community Assets, Environmental Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Devised, coordinated, and supervised the project to be presented.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.