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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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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.

J Immigr Minor Health. 2010 Jun;12(3):377-83. doi: 10.1007/s10903-008-9187-6. Epub 2008 Sep 16. Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov’t; Research Support, U.S. Gov’t, P.H.S.

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