Knowledge, attitudes, and practices survey of rabies in a community in Sri Lanka

Gino C Matibag, Taro Kamigaki, Pallegoda V R Kumarasiri, Thula G Wijewardana, Anil W Kalupahana, D R Anuruddhika Dissanayake, D D Niranjala De Silva, G S Panduka De S Gunawardena, Yoshihide Obayashi, Koji Kanda, Hiko Tamashiro
Environmental Health and Preventive Medicine 2007, 12 (2): 84-9

OBJECTIVES: The primary objective of this study was to determine the level of knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) of rabies management and control of a sample population. The secondary objective was to compare the KAP with respect to rabies management and control between urban and rural areas and between pet and non-pet owners.

METHODS: This cross-sectional study was carried out by conducting face-to-face interviews using structured questionnaires among 1570 respondents from selected households in the Kandy District, Sri Landa.

RESULTS: Approximately 58% of the sample population was pet owners. Among all the respondents, there was a high level of awareness (90%) that dogs are the most common rabies reservoir, that the disease is fatal (79%), and that rabies can be prevented by vaccination (88%). Most of the subjects (96%) would seek treatment from a doctor or a hospital after being bitten by a dog. Although 76% of the respondents said that their pet dogs were vaccinated, only one-half were able to present a vaccination certificate upon request. The subjects from the urban areas would submit the head of an animal for rabies evaluation (69%) compared with those from the rural areas (57%). Pet owners (93%) are more aware that dog rabies vaccines are available from authorized offices than non-pet owners (87%).

CONCLUSIONS: The level of awareness of rabies and the level of receptiveness to rabies control measures are high. There is a difference in the attitudes and pet care practices relevant to rabies control between urban and rural areas. Pet owners tend to be more cooperative to rabies control activities. The attitudes and practices of the respondents may reflect the inaccessibility of facilities and the lack of services that would enable community participation in rabies control.

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