Despite increased vector control efforts, dengue fever remains endemic in Fortaleza, Northeast Brazil, where sporadic epidemic outbreaks have occurred since 1986. Multiple factors affect vector ecology such as social policy, migration, urbanization, city water supply, garbage disposal and housing conditions, as well as community level understanding of the disease and related practices. This descriptive study used a multi-disciplinary approach that bridged anthropology and entomology. A multiple case study design was adopted to include research in six study areas, defined as blocks. The water supply is irregular in households from both under-privileged and privileged areas, however, clear differences exist. In the more privileged blocks, several homes are not connected to the public water system, but have a well and pump system and therefore irregularity of supply does not affect them. In households from under-privileged blocks, where the water supply is irregular, the frequent use of water containers such as water tanks, cisterns, barrels and pots, creates environmental conditions with a greater number of breeding areas. In under-privileged homes, there are more possible breeding areas and environmental conditions that may improve the chances of Aedes aegypti survival.
Dengue; Water Supply; Anthropology; Entomology