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Lassa fever: awareness of preventive measures among residents of ilorin east local government of kwara state, Nigeria

Published on: 2020-03-31

Abstract

Background: Lassa fever outbreak is a yearly occurrence in Nigeria because the disease is endemic in Nigeria. The disease outbreak in 2018 was widespread with the involvement of 10 states out of 36 and 140 confirmed cases with 30 deaths. The Case Fatality Rate (CFR) was significantly high at 53% of all cases. Even currently in early 2020 an outbreak of Lassa Fever has been reported by the Nigerian Center for Disease Control and so far 365 cases have been confirmed with 47 deaths and involving 23 of the 36 states in Nigeria with a case fatality rate of 12.9%. The high virulence, attendant significant mortality, and morbidity as well as the non-specific mode of presentation of Lassa fever have made it a disease of public health significance. It, therefore, became necessary to study the awareness of the disease among residents of the Ilorin East Local Government Area of Kwara State. This descriptive cross-sectional study was carried out from January through February 2018.

Objectives: The study sought to assess the awareness of the cause of Lassa fever and the preventive health measures among residents of the Ilorin East Local Government Area of Kwara State, Nigeria.

Methodology: A multi-stage sampling technique was used to select respondents for the survey. The first stage involved using the mechanical balloting system names of the 12 wards in the Ilorin East Local Government were printed and placed in a container. With eyes closed, the wards were selected. Thereafter 3 villages/towns were selected. Potential respondents were selected in households and schools in the three villages to make up the sample size of 300. A research questionnaire (interview schedule) was administered to the respondents. Five research questions were set and the hypotheses were tested.

Results: At the end of six weeks, two hundred and seven respondents provided usable copies of the questionnaire interview schedule. The data and information gathered were analyzed based on the research questions and the null-hypothesis. All the respondents had heard of Lassa fever, however, only two-thirds of the respondents were aware of the cause. The respondents also had a high level of awareness of the preventive measures against the disease.

Conclusion: Although awareness of Lassa fever in this study is very high, sustained efforts should be made to increase awareness through health campaigns and to improve community attitude to preventive measures against Lassa fever.

Keywords

Lassa Fever; Awareness; Preventive Measures; Vector; Prevalence