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Title: Masculinity and misinformation: Social dynamics of liver fluke infection risk in Thailand
Authors: Wang, Yi-Chen 
Grundy-Warr,Carl E R 
Namsanor, Jutamas 
Kenney-Lazar Miles Richard 
Tang, Charlotte Jie Yi
Goh, Luke Yi Wei 
Chong, Yee Ching 
Sithithaworn, Paiboon
Ngonkum, Sutida
Khuntikeo, Narong
Keywords: Foodborne parasite
Information dissemination
Neglected tropical disease
Opisthorchis viverrini
Raw attitudes
Social-cultural aspects of public health
Issue Date: 1-Oct-2021
Publisher: Elsevier Ireland Ltd
Citation: Wang, Yi-Chen, Grundy-Warr,Carl E R, Namsanor, Jutamas, Kenney-Lazar Miles Richard, Tang, Charlotte Jie Yi, Goh, Luke Yi Wei, Chong, Yee Ching, Sithithaworn, Paiboon, Ngonkum, Sutida, Khuntikeo, Narong (2021-10-01). Masculinity and misinformation: Social dynamics of liver fluke infection risk in Thailand. Parasitology International 84 : 102382. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Rights: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
Abstract: Liver fluke infection through the consumption of raw or undercooked freshwater fish is a major public health problem in the Mekong Region. Despite the extensive efforts of liver fluke health campaigns, Northeast Thailand still reports high human infection prevalence as consumption of raw fish dishes has diminished but not ceased. This study examines the roles of social-cultural factors, particularly the influences of masculinity and misinformation, on liver fluke infection risk. Participant observation, questionnaire surveys and semi-structured interviews were conducted in four villages in Kalasin Province, Thailand, to scrutinize reasons for raw fish consumption, gender differences in raw fish culture, processes of liver fluke information dissemination, and the extent of information mismatch. Our results show that one of the key reasons (76.9%) underlying continued raw fish consumption are deeply embedded cultural practices associated with ways of rural life. About 30% of the participants indicated that they would not avoid eating raw fish, regardless of knowing the health consequences. Gender difference is evident, with 75.6% of males consuming raw fish salad (koi pla), compared to 42.7% of females. Some male participants associate raw meat consumption with virility and strength. Such beliefs underscore the cultural linkage of koi pla consumption with masculinity. Misconceptions of liver fluke life cycle and risk of infection remain, as only 15.3% of the participants correctly selected raw fish as the food source for liver fluke infection while 84.2% misunderstood that other raw foods could lead to infection. The multi-layered and hierarchical structure of public health information dissemination from medical professionals to health officers and village health volunteers to villagers has contributed to information mismatch between different layers. Our study builds on others which call for multi-pronged scientific and social strategies, as well as culturally attuned approaches to public health messaging. The study raises masculinity and misinformation as relevant considerations in disease prevention. Incorporating grounded research and gendered perspectives are part of appreciating the cultural roots of raw fish consumption. Realizing the significant role of village health volunteers in information dissemination and in supplying coherent public health messages is vital for effective health campaigns. © 2021 The Authors
Source Title: Parasitology International
ISSN: 1383-5769
DOI: 10.1016/j.parint.2021.102382
Rights: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
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