Differences in community perceptions on mosquito borne diseases between rural and urban localitities of Bankura District, West Bengal, India  

Avijit Mukherjee1 , Debsmita Chatterjee1 , Suvendu Patra1 , Biplab Mandal2 , Anupam Ghosh1
1. Department of Zoology, Bankura Christian College, West Bengal, India
2. Dept. of Zoology, Vidyasagar University, West Bengal, India
Author    Correspondence author
Journal of Mosquito Research, 2015, Vol. 5, No. 1   doi: 10.5376/jmr.2015.05.0001
Received: 15 Oct., 2014    Accepted: 23 Dec., 2014    Published: 20 Jan., 2015
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Mukherjee et al., 2015, Differences in community perceptions on mosquito borne diseases between rural and urban localitities of Bankura District, West Bengal, India, Journal of Mosquito Research, Vol.5, No.1 1-5 (doi: 10.5376/jmr.2015.05.0001)


The perceived risk regarding any vector borne disease depends upon the level of knowledge of the community people living there and based on the general perception of them, effective control strategies can be framed in the applied area. In the present study, a community-based cross-sectional study covering 400 peoples between an urban area (Bankura Sadar) and a rural area (Village Beliatore, Bankura) was undertaken to evaluate the level of knowledge of the community people regarding mosquito-borne diseases and locally used preventive measures. From the result of the present survey differences in the community perception between rural and urban people of Bankura were established.

Mosquito borne diseases; Community perception; Bankura; Cross-sectional study

Different species of mosquitoes acts as crucial vector for a number of arboviruses (arthropod-borne viruses) and parasites that causes many dreadful diseases and produces a huge burden on world’s population in terms of morbidity and mortality and also causes social, cultural, environmental and economic loss of the society. Mosquitoes are vectors of several pathogens that cause life threatening diseases, including protozoans (Malaria), viruses (Yellow Fever, Dengue Fever, Chikungunya fever, West Nile fever, Japanese Encephalitis) and helminthic (Filariasis) infections. The use of appropriate methods for mosquito control is the only way in which these diseases can be prevented or controlled. There are several possibilities for controlling immature life stages and adult mosquitoes, such as environmental control, chemical control, physical control, biological control, genetic control, among others. The success rate of the above mentioned control methods singly or in combination depends upon the knowledge and perception of the community people living in the applied area.
Mass education and campaign provides community knowledge in the local people. In India, in spite of many mass communication and educational programmes arranged by Government and some Non Government Organizations, community participation is far below the expectation in almost all regions (Ghosh et al., 2013, Vala et al., 2013). Community participation in turn depends on peoples’ general awareness, education, knowledge, socio-economic status and attitude (Aggarwal et al., 2004; Ghosh et al., 2013). Several socioeconomic studies was previously carried out in different parts of India (Yadav et al., 2007; Prakash et al., 2008; Gunasekaran et al., 2009, Ghosh et al., 2013) and some other countries like Trinidad and Tobago (Rosenbaum et al., 1995), Puerto Rico (Winch et al., 2002) etc. However, very few studies were carried out to compare the knowledge between rural and urban inhabitants of a particular area (Ravikumar and Gururaj, 2005, 2006; Patel et al., 2011; Matta et al., 2012; Vala et al., 2013). In the present study, a community-based cross-sectional study was undertaken covering 200 people from an urban area (Bankura Sadar, Municipal area of Bankura District) and 200 people from a rural area (Village Beliatore, Bankura) to understand the level of knowledge of the community people regarding mosquito-borne diseases. The objective of the present study was to know what practices the people use to prevent mosquito bites at home and reduce the incidence of mosquito borne diseases in locality which would help to decide the further preventive methods.
1 Materials and Methods
1.1 Study area
Present study was undertaken during April- September 2013 in two selected areas Municipal town of Bankura Sadar (urban area) and village Beliatore (rural area). The distance between the two areas is approximately 25km. The Municipal town of Bankura is the district town of Bankura. According to 2011 India census it has a population of 138,036. Males constitute 51.2% and females constitute 48.8%. Beliatore is a small rural village in Barjora Block in Bankura District of West Bengal, India. As of 2011 India census, Beliatore had a population of 6,463. Males constitute 51% of the population and females 49%.
1.2 Study Design
The study was conducted by interviewing people of each area using a set of open ended questionnaire. Faculty and students of Zoology Department visited the study area along with NSS (National Social Service) volunteers and interviewed community people at their home. The interviewers were instructed to cover the community based on random sampling technique without any bias. This questionnaire was answered orally by interviewing people. The answers collected from each people were recorded in a data sheet for analysis using the Microsoft Excel software.
2 Results
Regarding description of the respondents involved in the study almost homogeneous age groups were selected in the study. Regarding the occupation of the respondents, the ratio of business men and service holder was higher in the urban area (Bankura Sadar) than in the rural area (Beliatore village) (Table 1). The general perception of the community people about the most frequent breeding places of mosquitoes was similar in both urban and rural areas. In both areas the most frequent breeding places of mosquitoes were identified as drains or polluted water (Table 2). Table 3 shows the perception of both communities regarding to the most frequent biting time of mosquitoes. In both areas, the highest biting activity was reported in the evening followed by night. When the respondents were asked about different type of mosquito borne diseases, most of them recognized Malaria in both the areas. However, it was noticed that the urban people have gathered more knowledge regarding different types of mosquito borne diseases than rural people as shown in Table 4. When respondents were evaluated about the symptoms of mosquito borne diseases, in both the places, fever was emerged as most likely symptoms, followed by shivering which reflects that probably the people were more experienced in Malaria than any other mosquito borne diseases (Table 5). A remarkable difference of opinion was noticed when respondents was asked about the source of treatment. In Bankura Sadar, majority of the people depends upon Govt. Health system or Medical College and Hospital; whereas the rural people of Baliatore depend upon Private Practitioner and Self medication (Table 6). In the urban area, Majority of the people (35) have accumulated information regarding mosquito borne diseases from the school, but in Beliatore, majority of the people (46%) gathered information from daily observations on sick people (Table 7). Use of mosquito bed nets were used personal protection to the study population as reported by the urban people of Bankura Town where as majority of the rural people depends upon various types of mosquito coil for the is the most important source of (Table 8). In a question related the application of suitable efforts by the Government, majority of the urban people wants chemical spraying where as majority of the rural people wants daily cleaning of garbage as well as cleaning of drains at regular intervals (Table 9).

Table 1 Description of the total respondents (200 individuals of each are) involved in the study

Table 2 General perception of community people about breeding places of mosquitoes

Table 3 General perception of community people about preferred time of mosquito borne diseases

Table 4 General perception of community people about different types of mosquito borne diseases

Table 5 General perception of community people about symptoms of mosquito borne diseases

Table 6 Source of medical treatment used by community people of Bankura town

Table 7 Source of knowledge gathered by community people of Bankura town about mosquito borne diseases

Table 8 Personal protection used by community people of Bankura town against mosquito bite

Table 9 Role of Govt. in eradication of mosquito borne diseases

3 Discussion
In recent years, vector borne diseases (VBD) have emerged as a serious public health problem in different countries of the South-East Asia Region, particularly in India. Among the alternative strategies of mosquito control emphasis was given on environmental control of mosquitoes (Ghosh et al., 2012). To address the threats of any disease, it is important to look beyond just the behavior of the vector of the disease. The behavior of susceptible community also plays an important role in the ecology and spreading of infectious diseases. Community participation is essential for the prevention and control of mosquito borne diseases. Community perception study is essential to understand the level of knowledge of the community, their attitude and practices regarding mosquito borne diseases (Patel et al., 2011).
In the present study, it was noticed that remarkable differences in opinion is present between rural and urban people in terms of use of bed nets, source of treatments, source of knowledge about mosquito borne diseases and participation of Govt. to reduce mosquito breeding places.
The level of knowledge with regards to disease transmission varies, and studies show that people may not understand that mosquitoes spread a number of diseases. In a community perception study in Uganda it was found that many people believed that in addition to mosquitoes, drinking dirty water, inhaling bad air, witchcraft, and eating fresh fruit can cause malaria (Nuwaha, 2002). In Ghana, while symptoms of lymphatic filariasis are well known to the community people, the cause is not known (Ahorlu et al., 1999). In the present study also, difference in opinion occurs regarding general perception of community people about different types of mosquito borne diseases. In the rural area about 21% people have no knowledge regarding any type of mosquito associated disease which is significantly higher than knowledge of urban people where only 3.3% people are ignorant about mosquito borne diseases. It reveals that introduction/strengthening of mass education through Government and NGO or Social Media is necessary in Beliatore. Among people who understand that mosquito causes illness, there is a hesitation to use proper methodologies to protect mosquitoes. Bed nets can reduce cases of malaria by 31 percent (Goodman et al., 2001). In a community study in Nigeria, it was found that the community people widely believed that mosquito nets are the best way to prevent transmission of mosquitoes (Onwujeke et al., 2000). In the present study it was noticed that people of urban area with more use of bednets (26.34%), coil (25.67%) and repellents (16%) whereas people of rural area uses more coil (35%) than bednets (21%) or repellants (7%). In Bankura Sadar, majority of the people depends upon Govt. Health system, whereas the rural people of Baliatore depend upon Private Practitioner and Self medication. It probably happened because a Govt. Medical college and Hospital was established in Bankura town, but no such facility was provided to the people of Baliatore. It was also noticed that rural community are not using Govt. Health service properly. If people do not seek treatment from government health facility, then it would be very difficult task for government to reduce burden of mosquito borne diseases (Patel et al., 2011). A study carried out by Ravikumar and Gururaj (2006) also reported the similar findings in rural population of Karnataka. From, the analysis if result of the present study, it is also recommended that the more campaign and Govt. effort is necessary to provide more knowledge about mosquito borne diseases and regular cleaning of mosquito breeding places is necessary to reduce the prevalence of disease in the rural community of Beliatore.
Communities vary in their perceptions about the prevalence of vector-borne diseases as well as knowledge about seriousness of diseases. There is an urgent need to develop a strong connection between entomologists, vector control specialists and social and behavioural scientists, so that technical details outlined for implementation could be successfully passed on to the communities. A serious effort by Govt. in terms of campaign to produce mass awareness to the people regarding mosquito breeding places and its regular cleaning as well as motivate the common people to use mosquito bed net regularly and to use Govt. health system during sickness may reduce the burden of mosquito borne diseases in the urban and rural community of Bankura, West Bengal, India.
The authors acknowledge the study participants, final year Graduate students of Bankura Christian College, and volunteers for their active participation. The financial support provided by University Grants Commission [PSW 001/11-12(ERO-3811)] to Dr. Anupam Ghosh and Dr. Avijit Mukherjee is also thankfully acknowledged.
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