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Behavioral and Attitudes Survey About Lyme Disease Among a Brazilian Population in the Endemic Area of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts

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Abstract

Disease prevention models have shown individuals are more likely to engage in precautionary behavior if they have confidence in their ability to identify disease symptoms and understand health risks. In immigrant populations, communicating the risks poses greater challenges since linguistic and cultural barriers may impede acceptance of the new behavior. The Brazilian population on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, is at high risk for Lyme disease (LD), the most common vector-borne illness in the United States largely preventable by limiting tick exposure. We surveyed 103 Brazilians on MV about their health beliefs and perceptions of LD risk and assessed their level of precautionary behaviors and the cultural factors influencing them. The population had only a moderate perception of risk and little understanding of LD. Forty-one percent did not think LD posed a risk, while 79% were not sure they could recognize symptoms. Accordingly, the population as a whole reported taking few precautions.

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Acknowledgments

We thank those who provided our funding—the Centers for Disease Control and the Arthritis Foundation. We also thank the Brazilian community on Martha’s Vineyard for their help.

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Correspondence to Jenny E. Heller.

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Jenny E. Heller and Elizabeth Benito-Garcia contributed equally to this manuscript.

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Heller, J.E., Benito-Garcia, E., Maher, N.E. et al. Behavioral and Attitudes Survey About Lyme Disease Among a Brazilian Population in the Endemic Area of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. J Immigrant Minority Health 12, 377–383 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10903-008-9187-6

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10903-008-9187-6

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