User-generated Content Promotes Vector-borne Disease Prevention

Virtually everyone on Earth is at risk for being bitten by a mosquito, tick, or flea. These vectors can spread germs through bites, which can make you sick. Bite prevention messaging gets tricky when you try to use the same message for everyone. Tailoring messages, like “use insect repellent”, to a target audience’s location and culture will typically be more effective.

With funding from CDC’s Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity (ELC) Cooperative Agreement for Vector-Borne Disease, state health departments explore communication strategies for vector-borne disease prevention. One such strategy is providing credible information to people promoting prevention of vector-borne diseases. Vector control programs, healthcare providers, and health departments can use the information to create their own messages, known as user-generated content. They also decide how and when they want to communicate with their target audiences.

Prevent and Protect - Mosquito control messages for your community

Cover of the Mosquito Control Toolkit

Courtesy of the Florida Department of Health

The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Center for Public Issues Education in Agriculture and Natural Resources and the Florida Department of Health published a Mosquito Control Toolkitexternal icon with social media posts, digital graphics, print information sheets, videos, and animated characters. Different groups can download these free resources and disseminate them to their audience. The toolkit is also available in Spanish and Haitian Creole.

image showing a tick, a clock, and the words

Kentucky Tick Poster Contest 1st Place Winner

Courtesy of the Kentucky Department for Public Health

The Kentucky Department for Public Health hosted a tickborne disease prevention poster contest. Throughout the state, students from kindergarten to 8th grade learned about tickborne disease prevention and created posters using trustworthy messages. Students submitted over 800 posters to the contest. The winning posters pdf icon[PDF – 1 page]external icon on the Kentucky Department for Public Health website will be used in a communication campaign. This contest resulted in user-generated content developed by an audience that is too young for the Internet, but just as at risk for vector-borne diseases.

Providing evidence-based messages and encouraging user-generated content can increase the reach and effectiveness of prevention communication. User-generated content that includes consistent, actionable messages can increase acceptance of prevention strategies, which may ultimately prevent illness