AEDES: Representation of hazards and definition of health risk related to the colonization of mainland France by Aedes Albopictus

Given the objective rise of health risks, related notably to dengue and chikungunya fever, which is due to the colonization of the coastal and seaside areas by tropical mosquitoes – that are potential vectors of a large range of diseases – in mainland France, it appeared to us crucial to better understand the multiple factors of vulnerability and resilience in the case of outbreaks, in particular the cognitive, social and behavioral ones, so that more effective and appropriate prevention policies targeting the exposed population might be developed in the next future.

Within this project of research, we will refer to the concept of “resilience” in order to account for the dynamic of the situations constructed from unusual events, such as the implantation of the vector, or the occurrence of an outbreak related to this mosquito. We assume that the social response to a health risk doesn’t depend only on the individual’s beliefs and behaviors, but also on those of their relatives, as well as those of health professionals. We also assume that the representations related to vector-borne diseases are dependent on the knowledge and experience that the people have acquired with their local environment.

Given the long term implantation of “tiger” mosquitoes in France mainland, and the potential for an epidemic, we designed a research program in Social and Behavioral Sciences that takes into account the temporal dynamic of processes, and aims to enlighten the public action regarding the ability for the populations and health professionals to mitigate this emerging threat.

This research lays on the complementarity of various disciplines and frameworks, and will be implemented with the assistance of experts of the French National Center for Studies of Vectors (CNEV), and the « OHM littoral méditerranéen”, as scientific collaborations still exist with the members of these organizations. Methodologically, it will rest, on the one hand, on monographies and qualitative interviews conducted in the general population, among health professionals, vector control professionals, and on the other hand, on quantitative surveys based on the repeated collections of data over time.

This is a 24 months project that includes 3 research teams coordinated by Daniel Bley: UMR 7300 ESPACE /CNRS, Aix-Marseille University; UMR 190/AMU/EHESP (coor. Jocelyn Raude), IHT/ Nantes University (coor. Dominique Pecaud), which focuses on the study of interactions between environment and health, including those related to spatial variations and coping strategies.

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