Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis





First Advisor

David Simmons


Chikungunya (CHIKV) is a mosquito-borne virus that recently (2013) entered the Western hemisphere and tore through the Caribbean and most of Latin America. The symptoms include rash, joint pain, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, and fever. In many cases, sufferers report persistent arthralgia long after the actual viral infection has subsided. There are a variety of misperceptions about CHIKV, which directly impact public health efforts aimed at reducing the prevalence of the disease. Understanding the epidemic spread of CHIKV in the DR and the growth of misconceptions about the origin, severity, cause, and treatment of the disease requires a perspective that encompasses the historical and socioeconomic as well as the biological. The spread and experience of CHIKV in the DR is also shaped by patterns of public spending, socioeconomic conditions, and the physical environment. Long-term historical processes shape the socioeconomic conditions that are present alongside the disease, especially the relationship the DR has had with the U.S. throughout the 20th century. These historical relations and processes also affect the nature of misperceptions that spring up around CHIKV in the DR Historical analysis, semi-structured interviews, and surveys were used to document and contextualize cultural perceptions of CHIKV in the DR Understanding misconceptions about the transmission and nature of the disease can help improve public health efforts that may be hindered by popular misperceptions of the disease.


© 2016, James Preston Kerns