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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 16  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 90-95

Knowledge, beliefs and malpractices regarding the prevention of Ebola virus disease in a rural community of North-West Nigeria

1 Department of Community Medicine, Kaduna State University, Zaria, Kaduna State, Nigeria
2 Department of Community Medicine, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna State, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Dr. A A Gobir
Department of Community Medicine, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna State
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/njhs.njhs_23_16

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Background: Ebola virus disease (EVD) is a highly contagious, life-threatening viral haemorrhagic fever, characterised by fever, vomiting, diarrhoea and haemorrhagic symptoms in <20% cases. Due to the scale, duration and the lethality of the disease outbreak in West Africa, it generated a high level of public fear and anxiety that resulted in misconceptions and malpractices in its prevention. Objective: The objective of the present study was to assess the knowledge, beliefs and malpractices regarding the prevention of EVD in a rural community of North-West Nigeria. Methods: This was a cross-sectional descriptive study was conducted as part of a field practical experience for final year medical students of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, from 6 to 31 October 2014. A structured, pre-tested interviewer-administered questionnaire was used to collect the data. The data were cleaned and analysed using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences for Windows, version 21.0. Results: Of the 574 respondents, 478 (83.3%) were farmers, whereas 304 (53.0%) did not have formal education. A total of 555 (96.7%) respondents have heard about EVD. Although 429 (74.7%) of the respondents knew fever was a symptom of EVD, 402 (70.0%) did not know that gastrointestinal bleeding was a symptom. A total of 134 (23.3%) bathed with or drank salt water as a preventive measure against the disease. There was a statistically significant association between the level of education and participation in salt-related malpractices for the prevention of EVD (P = 0.002). Conclusion: Although the level of awareness of the disease was very high, the level of knowledge of appropriate preventive measures was very poor in the community with negative beliefs, misconceptions and malpractices regarding prevention. There is a need to educate people in the community on correct preventive measures using two-way radio programmes to effectively control future outbreaks of EVD.

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