Knowledge, attitudes and practices towards spotted fever group rickettsioses and q fever in Laikipia and Maasai Mara, Kenya.
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Many factors contribute to misdiagnosis and underreporting of infectious zoonotic diseases in most sub-Saharan Africa including limited diagnostic capacity and poor knowledge. We assessed the knowledge, practices and attitudes towards spotted fever group rickettsioses (SFGR) and Q fever amongst local residents in Laikipia and Maasai Mara in Kenya. A semi-structured questionnaire was administered to a total of 101 respondents including 51 pastoralists, 17 human health providers, 28 wildlife sector personnel and 5 veterinarians. The pastoralists expressed no knowledge about SFGR and Q fever. About 26.7% of the wildlife sector personnel in Laikipia expressed some knowledge about SFGR and none in Maasai Mara. None of these respondents had knowledge about Q fever. About 45.5 and 33.3% of the health providers in Laikipia and Maasai Mara respectively expressed knowledge about SFGR and 9.1% in Laikipia expressed good knowledge on Q fever and none in Maasai Mara. The diseases are not considered amongst potential causes of febrile illnesses in most medical facilities except in one facility in Laikipia. Majority of pastoralists practiced at least one predisposing activity for transmission of the diseases including consumption of raw milk, attending to parturition and sharing living accommodations with livestock. Education efforts to update knowledge on medical personnel and One-Health collaborations should be undertaken for more effective mitigation of zoonotic disease threats. The local communities should be sensitized through a multidisciplinary approach to avoid practices that can predispose them to the diseases.
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