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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 33-38

Awareness regarding Nipah infection among health-care workers in a Medical College Hospital in Kerala

1 Department of Paediatrics, Believers Church Medical College, Thiruvalla, Kerala, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, Believers Church Medical College, Thiruvalla, Kerala, India

Correspondence Address:
Geethu Mathew
Department of Community Medicine, Believers Church Medical College, Thiruvalla - 689 103, Kerala
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jcrsm.jcrsm_45_18

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Background: Nipah is a highly infectious viral zoonotic disease with documented human-to-human transmission and high case fatality rate. An outbreak of Nipah infection occurred in Kerala in May 2018. Considering that this is the first encounter for health professionals dealing with Nipah outbreak in this part of India, awareness intensification among health-care workers is of paramount importance. Objectives: The objective of this study is to find out the awareness regarding Nipah infection among health-care workers at a medical college hospital in Kerala and also to find out the factors associated with level of awareness. Methodology: The present cross-sectional study was conducted at a medical college hospital of Kerala during the period from June 2018 to August 2018. All health-care workers from different categories who were working for a period of >1 month in the medical college were included in the study. The study tool included a structured questionnaire which collected information regarding sociodemographic details, awareness regarding causes, modes of transmission, clinical features, diagnostic investigations, and preventive measures of Nipah. A scoring pattern was developed and any respondent scoring <50% was considered as poor and ≥50% as having good awareness. After taking the written informed consent from the participants, data were collected. Results: In this study, 204 health-care workers were enrolled. The mean age of the participants was 30.01 ± 6.7 years. Majority of the participants were nurses followed by the laboratory staff and doctors. Nearly 41% of the study population had a working experience of ≥5 years. Among the staff, 65.7% was found to have good and 34.3% had poor awareness regarding Nipah infection. The highest level of awareness was observed in Category 3 (investigations) and poorest in Category 4 (prevention). Higher age, work experience, and male gender were the factors associated with better awareness about Nipah. The highest level of awareness was observed among doctors (89.2%) followed by laboratory staff (83.3%) and nurses (61%). Conclusion and Recommendations: The overall awareness about Nipah infection among health-care staff was found to be satisfactory, with 65.7% of them having good awareness even during the initial days of the outbreak. Since it was the first outbreak in Kerala, there were some deficiencies in the knowledge of all categories of the health-care staff. Primary prevention approach aimed at spreading adequate awareness and refreshing knowledge among all health-care staff, including nonmedical staff should be practiced, and thereby they can serve as educators of the community at large.

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