Knowledge, attitude and practices relating to zoonotic diseases among livestock farmers in Punjab, India

B B Singh, R Kaur, G S Gill, J P S Gill, R K Soni, R S Aulakh
Acta Tropica 2018 September 27, 189: 15-21
Zoonotic diseases cause significant health and economic impact in developing countries such as India. Many zoonotic diseases are prevalent in the livestock and as an occupational zoonosis in the livestock farmers in India. Lack of knowledge on the disease transmission, prevention and control measures is a potential high risk for the occurrence of zoonotic diseases in the livestock and its keepers in India. We conducted this study to understand knowledge, attitude and practices of livestock farmers regarding zoonoses. Five villages from each of the 22 districts of the state were conveniently selected (n = 110). Farmers available at village community sites were enrolled in the study and requested to complete a custom designed questionnaire (n = 558). In addition, livestock farmers attending basic livestock husbandry training were also surveyed (n = 301). Data from questionnaires was used to create three index variables: (a) knowledge score; (b) attitude score and (c) practice score. Association between demographic and other explanatory variables with knowledge score was evaluated using linear regression analyses. Similarly, the association between knowledge and attitude score with practice score was evaluated. Of the 859 participants, 685 (80%) livestock farmers had heard the term 'zoonoses' but only 345 (40%), 264 (31%) and 214 (25%) farmers were aware of the zoonotic nature of tuberculosis, Japanese encephalitis and taeniosis, respectively. For practices, 23% farmers reported consumption of raw milk and only 10% and 8% livestock farmers ever got their animals tested for brucellosis and tuberculosis, respectively. The low level of education and being a cattle farmer were negatively associated with the farmer's knowledge on zoonotic diseases. The attitude score was positively associated with the practice score of the participants. The results indicate need for educating the livestock farmers particularly those with a low level of education to reduce the health and economic impact of zoonotic diseases in India.

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