The Journal of Health, Population and Nutrition
Vol. 22, No. 2, 2004, pp. 159-169
Bioline Code: hn04021
Full paper language: English
Document type: Research Article
Document available free of charge
The Journal of Health, Population and Nutrition, Vol. 22, No. 2, 2004, pp. 159-169
© Copyright 2004 - ICDDR,B: Centre for Health and Population Research
Cultural and Social Context of Dysentery: Implications for the Introduction of a New Vaccine|
Blum, Lauren S. & Nahar, Nazmun
Dysentery, a severe form of diarrhoeal disease, is a major cause of morbidity and mortality.
Paradoxically, virtually no studies have been conducted to examine beliefs and behaviours associated
with dysentery. The explanatory model of dysentery was explored in a community in Dhaka,
Bangladesh, to understand the acceptability of a vaccine against dysentery. A local term for bloody
dysentery is widely known, and residents describe a progression of symptoms, which closely mirrors
the biomedical model of the disease. Due to the symbolic significance of blood loss and the fact that
there is much uncertainty regarding treatment, bloody dysentery is perceived to be extremely serious.
Causal interpretations most commonly relate to humoral theories, and remedies involve the consumption
of 'cooling' foods that will reduce the heat associated with dysentery. Despite many misconceptions
about vaccines and the fact that this approach contradicts aetiological explanations, the perceived
severity of the illness makes vaccines attractive compared to other preventative measures. The results
illuminate relevant information for the implementation of a new vaccine.
Dysentery; Diarrhoea; Shigella; Explanatory models; Ethnomedicine; Ethnographic research; Bangladesh
Alternative site location: http://www.jhpn.net