Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Gender disparities in chikungunya attributed to mosquito activity

In a study published in the proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers analyzed gender disparities in the 2012 chikungunya outbreak in Bangladesh and found that adult women had a 1.5 times higher risk of contracting chikungunya compared to adult men. The researchers attributed this difference to the fact that women in the Bangladeshi village studied were also 1.5 times more likely to spend more time at home during the day than men and also that infected mosquitoes don’t migrate far from where they became infected. Oftentimes, mosquitos infected members in the same home or in a nearby home. People within the same household as an infected individual were 12% more likely to also become infected, whereas people 50 m away had a 0.3% of infection.

Study methods: The researchers performed a retrospective survey on each member of each household that agreed to participating in the study. The survey collected behavioral data as well as recent history of infectious disease. 175 cases were selected to perform blood testing to confirm chikyngunya infection in the region. The researchers developed a Bayesian data augmentation statistical model to determine the probability of contracting the virus given the parameters used in the study. Some parameters in the study included: gender, adult/child, antimosquito coil usage, transmission distance, and proportions of infection in household.

This study points to the intersection of gender roles and behavior and their impact on viral transmission disparities during epidemics.


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