Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Medicine

ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year
: 2022  |  Volume : 15  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 206--212

Public knowledge, practices and perceptions on typhus fevers in Southern Sri Lanka


Ashani Liyanage1, Nilmini Chandrasena2, Nayana Gunathilaka2, Ruwan Sanjeewa3, Ranjan Premaratna4 
1 Rickettsial Disease Diagnostic and Research Laboratory, Faculty of Medicine, University of Kelaniya, Ragama, 11010, Sri Lanka
2 Department of Parasitology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Kelaniya, Ragama 11010, Sri Lanka
3 Medical Officer of Health, Elpitiya, Ministry of Healthcare, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine, 80400, Sri Lanka
4 Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Kelaniya, Ragama 11010, Sri Lanka

Correspondence Address:
Nilmini Chandrasena
Department of Parasitology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Kelaniya, Ragama 11010
Sri Lanka

Objective: To assess public knowledge, practices and perceptions on typhus fevers in Sri Lanka. Methods: A descriptive study was done in four selected typhus- prone areas in Southern Sri Lanka. A mixed-method was employed using face-to-face interviews and questionnaire-based surveys among confirmed cases of typhus and at-risk populations, respectively. Frequencies, percentages, and means were used to characterize socio-demography and evaluate disease awareness. Results: The lay terms for typhus fevers reported in the studied region were “peacock fever”, “tick fever” and “bird fever”. A total of 499 subjects participated [mean±SD, (45±16) years] in the questionnaire-based survey, and 13.6% (n=68) reported past experience of typhus fever, 1.2% (n=6) identified the disease as “typhus” while 58.7% (n=293) and 11.8% (n=59) knew it as ‘peacock fever’ and ‘tick fever’, respectively. The etiological agent was unknown to 95.2% (n=475), but 53.5% ((n=267) were aware that it was vector-borne. Fever (57.3%, n=286), eschar (35.7%, n=178), headache (22.0%, n=267) and myalgia (19.2%, n=96) were identified as key symptoms. Past disease experience was significantly associated with higher awareness of the main disease symptoms (fever: χ2=15.713, P<0.001; headache: χ2=19.447, P<0.001; lymphadenopathy: Fisher’s exact test, P=0.023; eschar: χ2=12.049, P<0.001). None knew of any disease prevention methods. Participants with a past history of typhus fever had sought treatment at state hospitals (55.9%, 38/68) and private sector hospitals (5.9%, 4/68). Conclusions: Public awareness on preventive practices for typhus fevers was rare among the participants though vector-borne aspect was known to many. Clinical disease awareness was deficient among those without past experience of typhus fever. Community sensitization on vector avoidance strategies is highly recommended.


How to cite this article:
Liyanage A, Chandrasena N, Gunathilaka N, Sanjeewa R, Premaratna R. Public knowledge, practices and perceptions on typhus fevers in Southern Sri Lanka.Asian Pac J Trop Med 2022;15:206-212


How to cite this URL:
Liyanage A, Chandrasena N, Gunathilaka N, Sanjeewa R, Premaratna R. Public knowledge, practices and perceptions on typhus fevers in Southern Sri Lanka. Asian Pac J Trop Med [serial online] 2022 [cited 2022 Jun 29 ];15:206-212
Available from: https://www.apjtm.org/article.asp?issn=1995-7645;year=2022;volume=15;issue=5;spage=206;epage=212;aulast=Liyanage;type=0