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Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 96, Issue 2, pp 109–113 | Cite as

West Nile Virus

The Buzz on Ottawa Residents’ Awareness, Attitudes and Practices
  • Samantha D. Wilson
  • Monali Varia
  • Lee Y. Lior
  • on behalf of the Field Epidemiology Summer Course
Article

Abstract

Background

In 2002, the City of Ottawa was interested in the public perception of West Nile Virus (WNV) and mosquito control. Their objectives were to assess: awareness of WNV, practices to reduce mosquito sources, personal protective measures, and attitudes towards community-based insecticide programs.

Methods

In July 2002, we administered a telephone survey to a random, stratified sample of urban, suburban and rural Ottawa households.

Results

Surveys were completed for 491 households. Most (77.2%) respondents reported they had heard of WNV, and of these, 58.3% reported WNV was an important health issue. Mosquito repellent was the most common personal protective measure, reported among 72.5% of respondents, of whom 76.9% used DEET products. Multivariate regression analyses showed that age was a significant predictor of repellent use, with respondents aged less than 51 years more likely to use repellent than older respondents (ORadj =2.0; 95% CI: 1.2–2.3). This age group was also more likely to use at least one personal protective behaviour (ORadj=2.5; 95% CI: 1.4–4.5).

Results

Of 315 people selecting a justified time to larvicide, 4.8% chose “larvicides should never be used in Ottawa”; 33.4% stated that larviciding would be appropriate “when WNV was detected in birds or mosquitoes”; one third “needed more information” on the health and environmental effects of insecticides, prior to selecting a response.

Conclusions

Our findings highlight the need for public education reinforcing WNV importance, emphasizing the health and environmental effects of insecticides as well as appropriate personal protective behaviours. Such messages should target older and urban residents.

MeSH terms

West Nile Virus health behaviour health surveys mosquito control public health 

Résumé

Contexte

En 2002, la ville d’Ottawa a voulu connaître la perception du public sur le virus du Nil occidental (VNO) et la lutte contre les moustiques. Les objectifs étaient d’évaluer: la sensibilisation au VNO, les pratiques utilisées pour réduire les sources de moustiques, les mesures de protection personnelles et les attitudes face aux programmes communautaires d’application d’insectifuges.

Méthode

En juillet 2002, nous avons réalisé une enquête téléphonique auprès d’un échantillon stratifié de ménages choisis au hasard en milieu urbain, en banlieue et en milieu rural.

Résultats

Quatre cent quatre-vingt-onze (491) ménages ont répondu à l’enquête. La plupart des répondants (77,2 %) ont déclaré être au courant de l’existence du VNO, et pour 58,3 % de ceux-ci, le VNO représente une question de santé importante. L’application d’un insectifuge est la mesure de protection personnelle la plus répandue, puisque 72,5 % des répondants affirment y avoir recours. Les produits à base de DEET sont utilisés par 76,9 % de ces derniers. Les analyses de régression multiples montrent que l’âge est un prédicteur important de l’utilisation d’insectifuges: les répondants de moins de 51 ans sont plus susceptibles d’utiliser un insectifuge que les répondants plus âgés (RCcorrigé = 2,0; IC de 95 % = 1,2–2,3). Ce groupe d’âge est aussi plus susceptible d’adopter au moins un comportement de protection personnelle (RCcorrigé = 2,5; IC de 95 % = 1,4–4,5).

Résultats

Des 315 personnes qui ont choisi un moment propice à l’application de larvicides, 4,8 % croient que les larvicides ne devraient jamais être utilisés à Ottawa, 33,4 % pensent qu’il serait approprié d’utiliser un larvicide si le VNO était détecté dans des oiseaux ou des moustiques, et le tiers des répondants considèrent qu’ils ont besoin de renseignements supplémentaires sur les effets des insectifuges sur la santé et l’environnement avant de répondre.

Conclusions

Nous concluons qu’il y a lieu de renforcer la sensibilisation du public à l’importance du VNO et d’insister sur les effets des insectifuges sur la santé et l’environnement, ainsi que sur les comportements de protection personnelle. Les messages devraient cibler les personnes âgées et celles qui demeurent en milieu urbain.

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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Samantha D. Wilson
    • 1
    • 2
  • Monali Varia
    • 1
  • Lee Y. Lior
    • 1
  • on behalf of the Field Epidemiology Summer Course
    • 1
  1. 1.Canadian Field Epidemiology ProgramPublic Health Agency of CanadaOttawaCanada
  2. 2.Oxford County Public Health and Emergency ServicesWoodstockCanada

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