Recently, attention to chikungunya has increased due to its spread into previously non-endemic areas. Since there is no available treatment or vaccine, most intervention strategies focus on mosquito bite prevention and mosquito control, which require community involvement to be successful. Thus, our objective was to systematically review the global primary literature on the risk perceptions, attitudes, and knowledge of chikungunya among the public and health professionals to inform future research and improve our understanding on which intervention strategies are likely to be successful.
Potentially relevant articles were identified through a standardized systematic review (SR) process consisting of the following steps: comprehensive search strategy in seven databases (Scopus, PubMed, CINAHL, CAB, LILACS, Agricola, and Cochrane) and a grey literature search of public health organizations, relevance screening, risk of bias assessment, and data extraction. Two independent reviewers performed each step. Reporting of this SR follows PRISMA reporting guidelines.
Thirty-seven relevant articles were identified. The majority of the articles were published since 2011 (83.8%) and reported on studies conducted in Asia (48.7%) and the Indian Ocean Islands (24.3%). The results were separated into four categories: general knowledge and perceptions on chikungunya; perceptions on the risk and severity of chikungunya; knowledge of chikungunya-harboring vectors and transmission; and knowledge, perceptions, and attitudes on mitigation practices. Overall, the systematic review found that risk perceptions, attitudes, and knowledge of chikungunya among the public and health professionals vary across populations and countries and knowledge is higher in areas that have experienced an outbreak.
The results suggest that most of the affected populations in this study do not understand mosquito borne diseases or chikungunya and are therefore less likely to protect themselves from mosquito bites. While more research is required to improve the generalizability of this dataset, it appears that a lack of knowledge is an important barrier for motivating community level interventions and personal protection against mosquitoes.