Document Type

Honors Project

Publication Date



Framed by critical medical anthropology, this applied study utilizes political economic theory and ethnographic methods to contextualize and evaluate the implementation of a global health initiative at the local level, as well as critically evaluates the response of state and international health agencies to the Zika epidemic in Costa Rica. The prevalence of arboviruses including Zika and the potential for epidemics and future population-level health consequences are examined by a multiaxial approach that incorporates themes of culture, socioeconomic context, issues of power and control, and human impact on the natural environment. By combining an interdisciplinary approach that considers the economic, political, and anthropogenic causes of Zika virus incidence with epidemiological data from the rural Pacific-coastal cantons of Garabito and Orotina, this study provides a holistic view, rooted in both critical medical anthropology analysis and public health research, of the shortcomings in Costa Rica’s public health prevention efforts to combat Zika infection in vulnerable rural coastal communities.

Level of Honors

cum laude




Brenda Jenike