Knowledge and Attitudes of the Rural Population and Veterinary and Health Personnel Concerning Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever in Western Iran in 2012

N. Sharifinia, J. Rafinejad, A.A. Hanafi-Bojd, A. Biglarian, S. Chinikar, M. Baniardalani, F. Sharifinia, F. Karimi

Abstract


Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF) is an emerging zoonotic disease in Iran. It became a public health problem in the country after an epidemic during 1999 in western Iran. Subsequent studies showed that the disease is now endemic in 23 out of 31 provinces of Iran. The more people become aware of CCHF, the more this disease will be prevented. Therefore, knowledge assessment studies are essential for planning a structured questionnaire to conduct a program of interviews and in training programs. The present study was conducted in an at risk area in western Iran. During Jun-Jul, 2012, a descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted involving 194 people in Darreh Shahr County, Ilam Province, western Iran. The first interrogation was conducted in 4 villages and the second was focused on the health and veterinary staffs of the County who may have been exposed to the disease or may have come in contact with patients suffering from the disease. An interview was conducted through a structured questionnaire concerning CCHF in all studied populations. Statistical analysis of the collected revealed that 61.7% of those interviewed had some information about the role of ticks in disease transmission, while only 14.8% had correct information about CCHF and its’ vector. The education levels and jobs of the respondents correlated significantly with their knowledge about the role of ticks in disease transmission, awareness of CCHF and its'routes of transmission, as well as with the symptoms of the disease (P = 0.000). Most health and veterinary staff members had varying levels of knowledge about ticks and tick-borne diseases, while 64.6% recognized CCHF as a tick-borne disease. Their information about ticks was obtained mainly from academic courses (61.1%). A relationship of direct employment in public health or veterinary medicine areas led to improved knowledge of 41.6% of respondents. Education of the interviewed personnel was correlated with their knowledge related to methods of tick control (P = 0.002); and the efficacy of various methods of control (P = 0.02). Public education related to CCHF and its transmission routes is recommended via TV/radio broadcasts; however health workers can also play an important role in educating and training villagers. Specialized programs are needed to improve the knowledge of relevant health and veterinary staffs.

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