Herdsmen and Livestock Farmers’ Perception, Attitudes and Risk Factors towards Zoonotic Diseases in Awka North and South Local Government Areas, Southeastern Nigeria
A cross-sectional survey utilizing semi-structured questionnaires was used to study the herdsmen and livestock farmers’ perception, attitudes and risk factors towards zoonotic diseases in Awka North and South Local Government Area. Data obtained were analyzed using chi-square on SPSS (Version 15.0) at a significance level of p < 0.05 to determine possible associations between variables and perceptions of zoonotic diseases. Out of the 384 respondents, 214 (55.7%) had heard about zoonotic diseases. Avian influenza (95.3%), rabies (90.9%) and bovine tuberculosis (64.3%) were perceived by the respondents to be zoonotic. Viruses (82.3%), punishment from gods (72.4%) and bacteria (52.1%) were also perceived by the respondents as major causes of zoonotic diseases, whereas 62% were of the view that zoonotic diseases are of no consequence. Only 26.3% (101) had overall knowledge of zoonotic diseases. Slaughtering of sick animals, drinking of raw milk, skin to skin contact with animals, contact with animals’ placenta, handling of animal with open wounds/cuts and keeping of pets were indicted as attitudes and risk factors of zoonotic diseases amongst the respondents. Significant associations (p < 0.05) were found between perceptions/awareness of zoonotic diseases and age, educational status and location. In conclusion, the herdsmen and livestock farmers’ awareness/perception of zoonotic diseases is abysmally poor in the study area, thus public education on zoonotic diseases is therefore hugely recommended.
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