Laura Tamayo Quintero

AlertaChirimacha: Shifting Community-Based Vector Surveillance to Social Media During COVID-19

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Laura Tamayo, Epidemiology

I am research assistant at the Zoonotic Disease Research Lab (Penn and Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia in Peru). I currently working with community base surveillance of Chagas disease vectors in Arequipa. 


L Tamayo1, V Paz-Soldán2, R Castillo-Neyra3, M Levy3

  1. Zoonotic Disease Research Lab (LIEZ), One Health Unit, School of Public Health and Administration, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Avenida Honorio Delgado 430, San Martín de Porres, Lima 15102, Peru.
  2. Department of Global Community Health and Behavioral Sciences, Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, 1440 Canal Street, Suite 2200, New Orleans, LA 70112.
  3. Department of Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Informatics, Perelman School of Medicine at University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA


The COVID-19 pandemics has brought new challenges for other infectious disease surveillance and control. The social distancing measures and the social immobilization imposed by the national government to avoid the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 virus in Arequipa-Peru have greatly affected the entomological surveillance of kissing bugs, the vectors of the etiological agent of Chagas disease: Trypanosoma cruzi. As a way to maintain the surveillance active, we created “AlertaChirimacha” a new system of communication and report that reduce the contact between the community and the vector control staff. We have used facebook advertising to promote the new reporting system via phone calls or WhatsApp messages.  After the first paid post, we received 41 reports of insects that people considered to be kissing bugs, two of which has been confirmed. Compared to the last year (2019), the number of reports received increased by 192% and the rate of infested houses discovered has remained the same, even when in 2019 the reports was not the only way of surveillance. Those early results demonstrate the possibility of using social media to keep diseases surveillance active in situations where physical contact could not be possible.


Community Surveillance, Chagas disease, Social media


Really great work in adapting to COVID!

Thank you!, I guess that in some way, COVID has helped us to rethink the way we do surveillance, now I think that much of this will remain even when we get through the pandemic.

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