Mosquito-Borne Arboviruses in Brazil: Assessment of Apps Based on the Mobile Apps Rating Scale (MARS)

  •  Victor Alves Albino    
  •  Izabelly Dutra Fernandes    
  •  Ricardo Almeida    
  •  Tais Acácia Santos-Silva    
  •  Roberta Smania-Marques    
  •  Matt Smith    
  •  John Traxler    
  •  Silvana Santos    


BACKGROUND: In Brazil, the prevalence of arboviral diseases, such as dengue, Zika, and Chikungunya, transmitted mainly by mosquitos, has increased alarmingly. In recent years, numerous free mobile apps tackling this issue have become available for various purposes and users.

OBJECTIVES: This study aimed to systematically survey and evaluate these apps using the Mobile App Rating Scale (MARS).

METHODS: The survey was performed on Google Play Store and sought to identify these apps adopting the descriptors “Chikungunya”, “Dengue” and “Zika”. The MARS scale was used by two researchers to evaluate the apps following their translation to Portuguese and subsequent validation. Student's T-test, Kappa statistics, and Cronbach's alpha coefficient were employed to evaluate the interobserver agreement and the reliability of the scale.

RESULTS: Most apps (20 out of 29 or ~70%) were created to disseminate basic information about arboviral diseases to the population or for entertainment. There was an agreement between the two researchers for all parameters of the MARS scale, except for the engagement (p=0.002). The Cronbach's alpha coefficient indicated good reliability.

CONCLUSIONS: The use of the MARS scale has shown that most of the evaluated apps were developed to share information about arboviral diseases in an interactive way, but they do not necessarily have the purpose of influencing their users to change behaviours related to vector control or the prevention of arboviral diseases, which the authors feel would be a more appropriate aim for future app development.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.