Mosquito-borne diseases are non-endemic in Europe but have become more prevalent over recent years. We can expect in the near future also in Belgium sporadic outbreaks. Human behaviour is key in prevention of such diseases. With this survey, we want to get an overview and an understanding of the knowledge and behaviour of the Belgian adult population towards mosquitoes and mosquito-borne diseases. The results will support authorities in correct information of the population.
Emerging mosquito-borne diseases
As a result of globalization, changes in land use and climate change, mosquitoes and the diseases they transmit can spread to regions where they haven’t been present before. Outbreaks of mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue, chikungunya, West Nile virus infection and zikavirus infection could become a reality in Belgium in the coming years, as it is already the case in neighbouring countries e.g. France and the Netherlands:
- Punctual introductions of the tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus) have repeatedly been reported in Belgium during previous years, and the mosquito could become established in the (near) future
- The increasing number of travellers returning from disease-endemic countries further enhance the risk for local transmission of mosquito-borne diseases in Belgium.
A good knowledge of the public on mosquitoes and their behaviour, and appropriate preventive actions against mosquitoes, are key in the preparedness of the Belgian population for newly emerging mosquito-borne diseases, as interventions to prevent or control mosquito-borne diseases are limited and require actions of the citizens:
- limiting mosquito breeding sites
- prevention of mosquitoes in houses
- prevention of mosquito bites.
Current knowledge, attitudes and practices
In this context, the service Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases of Sciensano performs a study on the Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices of the Belgian adult population on mosquitoes and mosquito-borne diseases.
The knowledge gaps or barriers for correct use of preventive actions, can then be used by Belgian authorities to correctly inform the population on prevention of mosquitoes and mosquito-bites.
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