Community perspectives on Zika virus disease prevention in Guatemala: A qualitative study

Elli Leontsini, Sean Maloney, Margarita Ramírez, Luisa María Mazariegos, Elisa Juárez Chávez, Diana Kumar, Priya Parikh, Gabrielle C. Hunter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Zika virus, which is transmitted by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes and through sexual transmission, disproportionally affects the human fetus. Guatemala experienced a surge of Zika cases beginning in 2016. We conducted a qualitative study of community perceptions of the seriousness of Zika, as well as the effectiveness, feasibility, and collective efficacy of Zika prevention actions. Free listing elicited the preventive actions salient for 68 participants comprising pregnant women, men with a pregnant partner, and women likely to become pregnant; 12 focus group discussions in a highland and a lowland town explored other concepts through rank orderings of prevention practices depicted on cards. Participants' initial concern about Zika, based on recent experience with chikungunya and high media coverage, diminished because of its mild symptoms and reduced media coverage. Participants identified more than 32 salient preventive actions, many of which are considered effective by programs. Participants ranked water storage container cleaning and regular unspecified cleaning of the house and its surroundings as highly effective, feasible, and of high collective efficacy; however, the actions lacked the specificity needed to effectively destroy mosquito eggs. Community-level removal of tires and discarded containers had lower collective efficacy than household-level implementation because of the municipal and community cooperation needed. Condom use, although salient for Zika prevention, was hindered by gender roles. The findings indicate space for increasing self-efficacy for condom use among fathers-to-be, abandoning nonspecific terms such as “cleaning” and “standing water,” increasing people's skills in using bleach as an ovicide, and promoting antenatal care and family planning counseling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)971-981
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases


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