Owerri Residents’ Awareness Of The Causes And Symptoms Of Lassa Fever

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Owerri Residents’ Awareness Of The Causes And Symptoms Of Lassa Fever


Abstract


The aim of this study was to examine Owerri residents’ awareness on the causes and symptoms of Lassa fever. Lassa fever is an endemic in West Africa, where it probably kills several thousand people each year. Owerri residents awareness of the causes and symptoms of this disease will help reduce the fear which Lassa fever has inculcated in humans. This research work reviewed existing literature of Lassa fever, applied some theories, it also had some objectives. Some of the objectives are: To find out the awareness level of Owerri residents on preventing the disease from spreading.

The data for empirical study were collected through questionnaire and observation. Statistical tables and simple percentage were used to present and analyze data. The findings of this study show that the Owerri residents are not fully aware of the disease not to talk of the causes and symptoms. Some radio and TV stations in Owerri are not really doing a good job to help create awareness on the causes and symptoms of the disease. The social media is not helping matters too. Based on the findings of this study, it is not recommended that media should join hands with the Federal Ministry of Health to pass the right information to the public.


Table Of Contents


Preliminary Page(s)

  • Title Page
  • Certification page
  • Dedication
  • Acknowledgement
  • Abstract
  • Table of contents

Chapter One:

Introduction

  • 1.1. Background of the study
  • 1.2. Statement of the problem
  • 1.3. Objectives of the study
  • 1.4. Research questions
  • 1.5. Significance of the study
  • 1.6. Scope of the study
  • 1.7. Limitations of the study
  • 1.8. Definitions of terms

Chapter Two:

Review Of Literature

  • 2.1 Introduction
  • 2.2 Brief history of Lassa fever
  • 2.3 Symptoms of Lassa fever
  • 2.4 Mode of transmission
  • 2.5 Diagnosis
  • 2.6 Treatment and Prophylaxis
  • 2.7 Prevention and control
  • 2.8 Epidemiology
  • 2.9 Media role in disease prevention
  • 2.10 Theoretical framework
  • 2.11 Summary of Literature review

Chapter Three:

Research Methodology

  • 3.1 Research design
  • 3.2 Population of study
  • 3.3 Sample size
  • 3.4 Sample procedure
  • 3.5 Sources of Data
  • 3.6 Instrument for data collection
  • 3.7 Validity of instrument
  • 3.8 Administration of instruments
  • 3.9 Method of data analysis

Chapter Four:

Data Presentation And Analysis

  • 4.1 Introduction
  • 4.2 Data presentation
  • 4.3 Discussion of findings

Chapter Five:

Summary Of Findings, Conclusion And Recommendations

  • 5.1. Summary of findings
  • 5.2. Conclusion
  • 5.3. Recommendations
  • References
  • Appendix(es)

Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background Of Study

At the beginning of 2012, WHO was notified by the Federal Ministry of Health in Nigeria of an outbreak of Lassa fever. As of March 22, 2012, 623 suspected cases, including 70 deaths have been recorded from 19 of the 36 states since the beginning of the year. Laboratory analysis undertaken at Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, Edo state, has confirmed the presence of Lassa virus in 108 patients.

The federal and state governments are trying to enhance the disease surveillance for early detection. People usually become infected with Lassa virus from exposure to infected rodents belonging to Mastomy’s species. Rat infected food stuff is commonly believed to be the mode of transmission 93%, while very few people mentioned the role of person to person transmission. People identified fever, mucosal bleeding, vomiting and headache to be the symptoms of the disease.

Lassa fever is a severe and sometimes deadly disease, caused by the Lassa fever virus. It has been diagnosed in patients predominantly in West Africa. It is known as Lassa Hemorrhagic Fever (LHF) although very few patients actually present with hemorrhagia (bleeding). Because the symptoms of Lassa fever are so varied and non-specific, clinical diagnosis is often difficult. Outbreaks of Lassa fever are initiated when a human is infected by an infected rodent.

Research has shown that it is more prevalent during the dry season.

In the absence of effective treatment, raising awareness of the risk factors of Lassa fever and preventive measures individuals can take is the only way to reduce human infections and deaths.


1.2 Statement Of Problem

Lassa fever, also known as Lassa Hemorrhagic Fever (LHF), is a type of viral hemorrhagic fever caused by Lassa virus. Many of those infected by this virus do not develop symptoms. When symptoms occur, they typically include fever, weakness, headaches, vomiting and muscle pains. The risk of death once infected is about 1% and frequently occurs two weeks of the onset of symptoms. Among those who survived about quarter have deafness which improves over time in about half.

The disease is usually initially spread to people via contact with the urine or faeces of an infected MultiMate rat. Spread can then occur via direct contact between people. The Lassa fever is a member of the ARENAVIRIDAE virus family.

Descriptions of the disease date from the 1950’s; the virus was first described in 1969 from a case in the town of Lassa in Borno state, Nigeria. Lassa fever occurs relatively commonly in West Africa including the countries of Nigeria where Owerri is located, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Ghana. There are about 300, 000 to 500, 000 cases which result in 5, 000 deaths a year.

The study is focused on Owerri resident’s awareness on the causes and symptoms of Lassa fever.


1.3 Objectives Of The Study

The Owerri residents should be fully aware of the causes and symptoms of Lassa fever in order to prevent the outbreak of the disease in Owerri and Imo state as a whole.

In this regards, the major objectives of this study is anchored on finding out the awareness level of Owerri residents about Lassa fever and to achieve the following:

  1. To establish the level of awareness of Owerri residents about the causes of Lassa fever.
  2. To establish the level of awareness of Owerri residents about the symptoms of Lassa fever.
  3. To find out if the media help in giving out information about Lassa fever.
  4. To establish knowledge on how to prevent and control Lassa fever.

1.4 Research Questions

In order to explore the ramification of this study, the following questions are posed as a guide to this study

  • Q1: What is the level of awareness of Owerri residents about the causes of Lassa fever?
  • Q2: What is the level of awareness of Owerri residents about the symptoms of Lassa fever?
  • Q3: Do the media help in giving information about Lassa fever?
  • Q4: Are there challenges facing the Federal Ministry of Health in creating awareness in Owerri?

1.5 Significance Of Study

The following are the significance of this study:

  1. It will help in the creation of awareness about the causes of Lassa fever to people living in Owerri.
  2. It seeks to encourage people who resides in Owerri to help fight against further outbreak of the disease.
  3. It will also explain how to prevent and control Lassa fever and also the mode of transmission.

1.6 Scope Of Study

The scope of study is to use the people who reside in Owerri, to determine the level of awareness created on the causes and symptoms of Lassa fever.

In 2001, a knowledge, attitude and practice survey was undertaken in Kenema among 813 men and 867 women in four camps for internally displaced people and eight primary health units. The survey revealed a reasonable knowledge of Lassa fever, its mode of transmission, control measures and seriousness of the disease.
This kind of survey is what is about to be carried out on Owerri residents.


1.7 Limitations Of Study

In the course of carrying out this work, there was much stress encountered by the researcher trying to gather materials for this study.

Initially, the researcher found this work unusual, on how to use a better approach on the people since there were beliefs that people would not want to give listening ear to the subject, thereby educating and convincing them to getting data for this study was quite because the researcher tried to gather effective data.

To this effect, it wasn’t so easy for the researcher. The allocation of time for this study was quite confusing because tried to gather effective data.

Another problem was finance.


1.8 Definitions Of Terms

We are going to know the conceptual and operational meaning of the terms that constitute the study.

Resident:

People based in a particular place.

Operational:

People living/ based in Owerri.

Awareness:

The state of being conscious of something.

Operational:

Consciousness of the people living in Owerri on the causes and symptoms of Lassa fever.

Causes:

The source (s) or reason(s) of an action(s)

Operational:

The source of Lassa fever.

Symptoms:

Anything that indicates the presence of something, especially something undesirable.

Operational:

How they can spot the presence of Lassa fever in someone.

Lassa fever:

A type of Viral Hemorrhagic Fever caused by Lassa virus.

Operational:

The disease being talked about.


Chapter Five


Summary Of Findings, Conclusion And Recommendations

5.1 Summary Of Findings

The findings of this study among others show that:

  1. The level of awareness of Owerri residents on the causes of Lassa fever is very low. Very few people in Owerri are aware of the disease (causes) while some don’t even know anything about the disease.
  2. The study also shows that there is low level of awareness on the symptoms of Lassa fever, and many people cannot state the symptoms even when they know about the existence of the disease. Larger number of the Owerri residents stated that they are unsure of the symptoms of Lassa fever.
  3. The study revealed that the media is not helping matters. The Owerri residents have clearly stated that the media do not publish any information about the Lassa fever disease, only few of them attested to the media giving out information about Lassa fever.
  4. Finally, a large number of Owerri residents stated that the Federal Ministry of Health does not have any hindrance in creating awareness about the disease in Owerri.

5.2 Conclusion

The study provides meaningful information relating to Owerri residents awareness on the causes and symptoms of Lassa fever. The researched rends to portray a fact, which is;

The low level of awareness about the causes and symptoms of Lassa fever. And to mention that the media is not doing anything to give out information concerning the causes and symptoms of Lassa fever.

Finally, the researcher concludes that there is low level of awareness by Owerri resident on the causes and symptoms of Lassa fever.


5.3 Recommendations

The epidemiology of both rat and human populations requires urgent investigation if we are to understand this disease fully. It could be done through developing:

  1. International collaboration over research
  2. Effective and affordable diagnostic kits and treatment
  3. There should be aggressive information on the causes, and symptoms of Lassa fever by the WHO and the media.
  4. Personal and environmental hygiene should be encouraged.
  5. Owerri residents should encourage monthly sanitation in order to chase away rodents.
  6. Laboratory personnel who are in the laboratory should endeavour to wear routine clinical laboratory protective equipment.
  7. The media should provide jingles on;
    1. The need for personal hygiene.
    2. The need to store food in rodent-poor containers.
    3. The media should make use of posters and pamphlets
    4. They should also organize public campaign awareness campaign in churches and discussion arenas.

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