AN INVESTIGATION OF BRUCELLOSIS KNOWLEDGE, ATTITUDE AND PRACTICE AMONG LIVESTOCK OWNERS IN THE WEST BANK
Abstract: Brucellosis is endemic in Palestine and therefore since 1998 a national program of brucellosis control has been launched. In the traditional breeding area of small ruminants, brucellosis is often reported in humans, mainly as a food borne disease. Any control strategy requires a well-functioning surveillance system, the co-operation with owners and a sustainable financial support. The aim of this study is sizing up of the current situation of knowledge, of the attitude and practice (KAP) regarding brucellosis, among sheep and goat farmers. A cross-sectional survey was conducted in 118 participants through an anonymous questionnaire to assess to which extent the flock owners are familiar with the knowledge and practices related to brucellosis of small ruminants. The designs of the questionnaire consider the implementation of KAP. Results shown that farmers, independent on their education, heard about brucellosis (100%) and all of them consider the washing of hands as necessary after close contact with animals or their products, and animal vaccination as being necessary to prevent brucellosis. Despite the educational level, almost all owners are aware about the risk of exposure of their family to animals infected with Brucella: they are considering the heating of cheese at boiling point and the use of gloves, as appropriate practices to reduce the exposure to Brucella. Great majorities of the participants (89.8%) have good knowledge about the transmission of Brucella from animals to humans, but only 37.3% correctly answered about the transmission of brucellosis by drinking raw milk, eating unpasteurized cheese, eating raw meat, liver, spleen and kidney or by contact with an aborted foetus and placenta fluid. Referring to the brucellosis’ prevention, 83% answered that boiling of milk and cheese and wearing of gloves when handling an aborted foetus could prevent it: these answers fit with the level of knowledge. From the questioned owners, 28.8% knew that boiling the milk affect his nutritive value; 84.7% think that owners of animals and their families are more exposed to brucellosis and 11.9% of their families have been diseased. Relative good general knowledge of owners about brucellosis was recorded, but high-risk behaviors still exist. Awareness campaigns on the control and prevention of the brucellosis are success stories, and government agencies should continue the public education.
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