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Assessing the impact of public education on a preventable zoonotic disease: rabies

  • E. HASANOV (a1), S. ZEYNALOVA (a2), M. GELEISHVILI (a3), E. MAES (a3), E. TONGREN (a3), E. MARSHALL (a4), A. BANYARD (a5), L. M. MCELHINNEY (a5) (a6), A. M. WHATMORE (a5), A. R. FOOKS (a5) (a6) and D. L. HORTON (a7)...

Summary

Effective methods to increase awareness of preventable infectious diseases are key components of successful control programmes. Rabies is an example of a disease with significant impact, where public awareness is variable. A recent awareness campaign in a rabies endemic region of Azerbaijan provided a unique opportunity to assess the efficacy of such campaigns. A cluster cross-sectional survey concerning rabies was undertaken following the awareness campaign in 600 households in 38 randomly selected towns, in districts covered by the campaign and matched control regions. This survey demonstrated that the relatively simple awareness campaign was effective at improving knowledge of rabies symptoms and vaccination schedules. Crucially, those in the awareness campaign group were also 1·4 times more likely to report that they had vaccinated their pets, an essential component of human rabies prevention. In addition, low knowledge of appropriate post-exposure treatment and animal sources of rabies provide information useful for future public awareness campaigns in the region and other similar areas.

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Copyright

This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Corresponding author

*Author for correspondence: D. L. Horton, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Surrey, UK. (Email: d.horton@surrey.ac.uk)

References

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