Meanings of dengue, chikungunya and zika and therapeutic itineraries in a Colombian endemic municipality

Claudia Hormiga Sánchez Claudia Cortes García Yaneth Becerra Fajardo Johan Ariza Abril Diego Garzón Forero Laura Cadena Afanador About the authors


Qualitative research to elucidate social constructions about dengue, chikungunya and zika in an endemic municipality of Colombia. Sixty-one people with subjective experience of disease participated. Semi-structured and open interviews, informal dialogues and observation notes record were used. The analysis was performed following the inductive method of social research. Two ways of understanding dengue are evident: as a “normal” disease or as a serious disease that can cause death. Chikungunya and zika are conceived as new diseases, difficult to recognize, that fall into social oblivion due to the low occurrence of cases. Two therapeutic itineraries for the three diseases are identified, mediated by the severity of the symptoms and the perception of the attention received by the health services. Drugstores are configured as a key element of therapeutic itineraries. It is concluded that the social construction of these diseases is crossed by a tension between recognition and forgetfulness. Public policies and actions aimed at the prevention and control of these events have the challenge of facing the “forgetfulness” that daily life brings, therefore they should not be limited to approaches that ignore the ways in which diseases are lived and faced.

Dengue; Dengue: Zika; Chikungunya; Medical Anthropology; Personal Narratives as Topic

Faculdade de Saúde Pública, Universidade de São Paulo. Associação Paulista de Saúde Pública. Av. dr. Arnaldo, 715, Prédio da Biblioteca, 2º andar sala 2, 01246-904 São Paulo - SP - Brasil, Tel./Fax: +55 11 3061-7880 - São Paulo - SP - Brazil