Assessment Of Knowledge And Prevention Of Lassa Fever Among People Attending Primary Health Care
This study was on assessment of knowledge and prevention of lassa fever among people attending primary health care. The total population for the study is 200 staff of selected health centers. The researcher used questionnaires as the instrument for the data collection. Descriptive Survey research design was adopted for this study. A total of 133 respondents made doctors, nurses, lab technicians and junior staffs were used for the study. The data collected were presented in tables and analyzed using simple percentages and frequencies.
1.1Background of the study
Lassa fever is an acute viral hemorrhagic illness caused by Lassa virus, a member of the virus family Arenaviridae. The disease is endemic in Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia, and Nigeria (Bowen et al. 2000) where The number of Lassa Fever virus infections per year is estimated at 100,000 to 300,000 with approximately 5,000 deaths (Bowen et al., 2000; Gunther et al., 2000; World Health Organisation (WHO), 2005, WHO, 2000). Outbreaks have been reported in Ghana, and serological evidence of human infection has been found in Ivory coast , Senegal and Mali. (Richmond and Baglole, 2003). The virus has also been imported into countries where it is not endemic, for example, by returning travelers (Gunther et al., 2000). The virus exhibits persistent, asymptomatic infection, with profuse urinary virus excretion in Mastomys natalensis, the ubiquitous and highly commensal rodent host Keenlyside et al., 1983; Monath et al., 1974). The virus is shed in their excreta (urine and feces), which can be aerosolized and inhaled by humans (Viral haemorraghic fever consortium, 2011). Primary mode of spread is from rodent to man through contact with rodent excreta or urine in food or during hunting and processing of rats for consumption. The virus has the capacity for person-to-person spread, either within households during care for sick relatives or in health care settings (Fischer-Hoch, 2005). Percutaneous or per-mucosal exposure to blood and other infected body fluids, especially if the fluids contain blood, can result in secondary human spread. This type of transmission is the most likely route in health care settings (Aranoff et al., 1997). This nosocomial hazard can be minimized by proper and timely infection-control measures, careful management of infected patients, and, in some cases, administration of prophylactic therapy to health care workers after exposure (Weber and Rutala 2001; Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Review (MMWR) 1988). Lassa fever presents at it’s early stage with symptoms and signs indistinguishable from those of other viral, bacterial or parasitic infections common in the tropics such as malaria, typhoid and other viral haemorrhagic fevers (Richmond and Baglole, 2003). Laboratory testing is required for confirmation. Untreated, Initial flu-like and gastrointestinal symptoms give way to bleeding, organ failure and neurological complications (Bausch et al., 2001). The drug ribavirin is effective if administered early following infection (McCormick et al., 1986). When the disease is in an advanced stage, even state-of-the-art intensive care cannot prevent a fatal outcome. A suspect must be rapidly excluded or verified to facilitate appropriate case management, including treatment, the implementation of isolation measures, or the tracking of contact persons (Haas et al., 2003) Late diagnosis and treatment also increases the likelihood of secondary transmission, including nosocomial transmission. It is therefore imperative that health care workers in endemic communities are adequately sensitized on the disease, it’s clinical features and diagnosis.
Lassa fever is commonly found in rural communities, where the over 70% of the population resides (Kelly et al., 2003). The focus of research into awareness of Lassa fever has been till date population based, and shown varying degrees of knowledge. There has been no published study on the level of knowledge among health workers, and particularly, primary care providers. This has much implications for limiting mortality from Lassa fever, as the greater proportion of people live in the rural communities, where poverty prevails and standards of living are low. In those communities, assess to orthodox medicine is commonly through the Private practitioner’s clinic or the Primary health centre. These are more likely to be few in number, ill-equipped and under staffed. When these health providers are themselves ignorant of the disease, the tendency to misdiagnose and treat wrongly not only puts the health worker at risk, but also endangers the lives of the close family contacts and community at large. Till date, there has been no published study to assess the knowledge primary care givers in these rural communities have of Lassa fever. Moreso, the emergence of highly virulent and contagious Lassa virus in many more districts and states in endemic countries of the West African sub-region and the increasing sporadic cases of Lassa fever outside the endemic regions within and outside Africa as a result of huge inter-border traffic and international travels, necessitates that health care providers should have comprehensive information about the virus and the disease it causes Furthermore, Lassa virus has been associated with nosocomial outbreaks with high mortality, hence, early identification of infected individuals is important for prompt implementation of appropriate barrier nursing guidelines (Fischer-Hoch et al., 1995; Mertens et al., 1973; White, 1972)
Statement of the problem
Since Lassa fever was first described, medical practice in much of rural and urban Africa, including Nigeria, has grown substantially, with proliferation of small hospitals and clinics run often with emphasis on profit, and which employ staff with little formal education or professional training outside of the meagre experience gained at their workplace. In Nigeria these shoulder a large burden of the medical care of the most populous country in Africa (Fischer-Hoch, 1995). Based on this background the researcher wants to investigate Assessment of knowledge and prevention of lassa fever among people attending primary health care
Objective of the study
The objectives of the study are;
- To ascertain the causes of Lassa fever
- To ascertain about primary health care workers knowledge about Lassa fever
- To investigate about the health care workers knowledge about prevention measure of Lassa fever
HO: There are no the causes of lassa fever
HI: There are the causes of lassa fever
HO: health care workers have no knowledge about prevention measure of Lassa fever.
HI: health care workers have knowledge about prevention measure of Lassa fever
Significance of the study
The study will be very significant to students and ministry of health, the study will give a clear insight on the Assessment of knowledge and prevention of lassa fever among people attending primary health care. The study will also serve as a reference to other researcher that will embark on the related topic
Scope and limitation of the study
The scope of the study covers assessment of knowledge and prevention of lassa fever among people attending primary health care. The researcher encounters some constrain which limited the scope of the study;
- a) AVAILABILITY OF RESEARCH MATERIAL: The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study
- b) TIME: The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.
1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Attitude: attitude is a psychological construct, a mental and emotional entity that inheres in, or characterizes a person. They are complex and are an acquired state through experiences
Perception: the ability to see, hear, or become aware of something through the senses.
Lassa fever: Lassa fever, also known as Lassa hemorrhagic fever (LHF), is a type of viral hemorrhagic fever caused by the Lassa virus. Many of those infected by the virus do not develop symptoms. When symptoms occur they typically include fever, weakness, headaches, vomiting, and muscle pains