Sociology ETDs

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This research compared the effectiveness of Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome prevention outreach in northwestern New Mexico, the Los Santos region of Panama, and Region Araucania IX in Chile. Outreach effectiveness for hantavirus is not well understood, even though outreach in Chile appears to be more extensive than in northwestern New Mexico and Panama. Understanding the role of human demographics, disease ecology, and subsequent human behavior in the disease process is critical to the examination of community responses in terms of behavior changes. Through the implementation of a self administered 28 question survey instrument (n=601), I measured attitudes towards, and across public health conditions with respect to hantavirus within three human populations of similar disease ecology and assessed whether knowledge and behavior change with respect to hantavirus is greater in high prevalence areas vs. low prevalence areas. Respondents in the high risk, rural poor sites in northwestern New Mexico and Panama sweep and vacuum more than respondents in Chile. In addition, respondents in Chile have a tendency engage more in proper cleaning methods such as disinfecting and mopping than those in northwestern New Mexico and Panama. However, levels of concern over contracting hantavirus were higher in New Mexico and Panama. This result indicates the public wants proper information on how to protect themselves and their families from exposure. While public health messages appear to be more effective in Chile, public outreach messages continue to affect positive and negative behavior in all three populations. Messages that encourage disinfecting and mopping as positive behavior and target both high-risk and low-risk populations are needed to decrease risk of exposure to Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome.

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First Committee Member (Chair)

Tiano, Susan

Second Committee Member

Coughlin, Richard

Third Committee Member

Simpson, Gary


Hantavirus, public health outreach, disease ecology, disease demography



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