Lassa fever is endemic in west Africa. Persons at greatest risk are those living in rural areas with poor sanitary conditions and overcrowding. Against this background, this study aimed at assessing public awareness of Lassa fever among residents of three rural communities in Edo State, Nigeria. A total of 380 persons resident in rural Okada, Ogbese and Utese communities of Edo State, Nigeria were enrolled for this study. Age range of participants was between 15 and 69 years. A structured questionnaire was administered to all volunteer subjects to obtain relevant information. Irrespective of community studied, a total of 28 (7.4%) participants reported to have heard of Lassa fever. Male gender was associated with awareness of Lassa fever in all communities surveyed. The television was the most popular source of Lassa fever awareness in all communities studied. Among participants who reported to have heard of Lassa fever, vehicles of transmission of disease mentioned included mosquito bites 9 (32.1%), dog bites 7 (25%) and eating of rat-contaminated food 2 (7.1%). Sleeping under mosquito bed nets and intake of herbal concoction were the principal mode of prevention of Lassa fever reported by respondents. A total of 15 (53.4%) and 16 (57.1%) of persons aware of Lassa fever had no idea of any vehicle of transmission and mode of prevention of the disease, respectively. Grave misconceptions on mode of transmission and prevention of Lassa fever were observed in all communities surveyed. Renewed effort at enlightening residents of rural communities on causes, modes of transmission and prevention of Lassa fever is advocated.
Public awareness of Lassa fever in three rural communities of Nigeria
Reference: Oladeinde, B., Omoregie, R. and Odia, I. (2014). Public awareness of Lassa fever in three rural communities of Nigeria. International Journal of Health Promotion and Education, 53(3), pp.128-135.