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West Afr J Med. 2015 Apr-Jun;34(2):101-7.

Knowledge of Secondary School Children in Edo State on Lassa Fever and its Implications for Prevention and Control.

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Institute of Lassa fever research and control, Irrua specialist teaching hospital, Irrua Edo State, Nigeria.



Seasonal outbreaks of Lassa fever in West Africa cause significant morbidity and mortality across all ages. In addition to present efforts to raise awareness, school children can be targeted to become peer and family health educators. The study was carried out to determine the knowledge of Lassa fever among secondary school children, and household practices that increase risk of the infection.


In a cross sectional survey, 561 secondary school students randomly selected from schools in Edo State were interviewed by means of a self - administered questionnaire that sought information on knowledge of Lassa fever and practices within the home that favour rodent contact . Data were analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences version 15.


Knowledge of Lassa fever was poor among 259 (49.4%) respondents, fair in 216 (41.2%) and good in 49 (9.4%). Female gender (< 0.01), monogamous family structure (p < 0.04) , and being in senior secondary class ( p=0.01) were predictors of high knowledge score. Self- reported Lassa fever risk conditions were found to be of low prevalence in 311(55.4%) and high in 250 (44.6%) homes, and associated with educational status of mother ( p=0.00) and father, (p =0.00).


School children in endemic communities lack good knowledge of Lassa fever, but when properly guided, have the potential to become peer and family educators.


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