Assessment of the Knowledge and Risk Factors Associated with Frequent Lassa Fever Outbreaks in Two Endemic Regions in South-South Nigeria

Joseph E. Igetei1*, Choice O. Okojie1, Rufina Igetei2, Benjamin C. Okpara1
1Department of Animal and Environmental Biology, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Benin, Nigeria.
2Department of Medicine, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Lagos, Nigeria.

Corresponding Author:; Tel: +2349065767342
Recieved Date: June 25, 2019; Accepted Date: July 24, 2020; Published Date: 27 July 2020
Citation: Igetei JE, Okojie CO, Igetei R, Okpara BC. Assessment of the Knowledge and Risk Factors Associated with Frequent Lassa Fever Outbreaks in Two Endemic Regions in South-South Nigeria. Trop J Nat Prod Res. 2020; 4(7):292-298.
Copyright: © 2020 Igetei et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Frequent outbreaks of the Lassa virus had been reported weekly in Nigeria in recent months by the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, where 23 of the 36 states in the country recorded confirmed cases in 2019 with a fatality of 20.6%. The present research assesses the knowledge and risk factors associated with continuous outbreaks of Lassa fever in Nigeria using the inhabitants of some endemic communities in Edo state as a  case study. The research was conducted using a 25-item self-administered semi-structured questionnaire to elicit responses from individuals in some Lassa fever endemic communities on basic information about the biology, epidemiology, prevention and control of the disease. Data analysis was done using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) Version 23.0. Overall, 122 (43.7%) of the 279 participants had good knowledge of the Lassa virus, 78 (28.0%) had fair knowledge while 79 (28.3%) had poor knowledge. Furthermore, 148 (53.0%) of the respondents knew that Lassa fever is caused by a virus while 260 (93.2%) knew that rats are the vector for the virus. Only 72 (25.8%) of participants knew the effective methods of food storage to avoid vector contact and contamination with the virus. Survey showed that there is still a dearth of knowledge and awareness of the risk factors associated with frequent outbreaks of the Lassa virus in endemic communities. There is need to intensify efforts on public health education and community mobilization to curtail future outbreaks of the disease.

Keywords: Lassa fever, viral diseases, Zoonosis, disease awareness, risk factors, mass education.
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