Awareness, Knowledge and Misconceptions about Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in a Family Practice Setting in Nigeria, West Africa


Ebola virus belongs to the Filovirus family. They are pleomorphic, negative-sense RNA viruses. Of the four identified strains of Ebola virus, three-the Zaire, Ivory Coast, and Sudan strains-have been shown to cause disease in both humans and nonhuman primates, with the Zaire strain exhibiting the highest lethality rate,. Awareness of EVD in Nigeria is not as high as that of Sierra Leone; this is because Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia were most affected by EVD [14]. In Sierra Leone, there were 717 cases (631 confirmed), including 298 deaths (case-fatality ratio 42%), compared to Nigerians, 13 cases (0 confirmed, 7 probable, and 6 suspected), including 2 deaths [15]. Moreover, in an attempt to control the EVD, Sierra Leone imposed a three-day lockdown on its population from 19 to 21 September. During this period, 28,500 trained community workers and volunteers went door-to-door providing information on how to prevent infection, as well as setting up community Ebola surveillance teams16. Awareness is a key to containing the deadly EVD in West Africa. To a large extent, lack of information will further complicate government and humanitarian agencies’ response to the crisis. Since currently, there is neither vaccine nor drugs for EVD, we must act fast by ensuring that correct information reaches affected communities. In Nigeria 156 (39.0%) had poor knowledge of EVD, this is comparable to the studies in Sierra Leone where only 39% of the respondents were able to identify three means of prevention and rejected three misconceptions. While not sufficient in itself, comprehensive knowledge is a critical component in increasing the likelihood of individuals to adopt the promoted prevention and medical seeking behaviours