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SHORT COMMUNICATION
Year : 2010  |  Volume : 54  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 161-164  

Awareness, perception and myths towards swine flu in school children of Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh


1 Assistant Professor, Department of Community Medicine, Rohilkhand Medical College and Hospital, Bareilly, India
2 Professor and Head, Department of Community Medicine, Rohilkhand Medical College and Hospital, Bareilly, India
3 Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Rohilkhand Medical College and Hospital, Bareilly, India
4 Assistant Professor, Department of Anaesthesia, Rohilkhand Medical College and Hospital, Bareilly, India
5 Statistician cum Lecturer, Rohilkhand Medical College and Hospital, Bareilly, India

Date of Web Publication18-Jan-2011

Correspondence Address:
Varsha Chaudhary
Assistant Professor, Department of Community Medicine, Rohilkhand Medical College and Hospital, Bareilly, UP
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0019-557X.75741

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   Abstract 

The deadly disease swine flu is, without a speck of doubt, causing a massive havoc among the common people of India and has created fear across the various strata of the society. The objective was to find out the awareness, perception, and myths of school going children of class 9 th to 12 th toward swine flu. The present cross-sectional study was carried out in two randomly selected (using random number table) senior secondary schools of Bareilly among 400 students of class 9 th to 12 th . A total of 200 students were selected from each school. Chi-square test was applied for statistical analysis. Almost all the students (97.75%) have heard about of swine flu and are aware of it as a disease entity. Fever was found to be the main symptom while coughing and sneezing were main way of spread of swine flu known to them. About 97% of the students mention use of mask as most effective way to prevent them from swine flu. Knowledge of availability of medicine was present in less than half of the students. TV was found to be the main source from which they get knowledge (79%), and they are trying to get knowledge (53.2%) of swine flu. Among them, 74% students were taking precaution against swine flu.

Keywords: Awareness, H1N1, Myth, Practice, Swine flu


How to cite this article:
Chaudhary V, Singh R K, Agrawal V K, Agarwal A, Kumar R, Sharma M. Awareness, perception and myths towards swine flu in school children of Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh. Indian J Public Health 2010;54:161-4

How to cite this URL:
Chaudhary V, Singh R K, Agrawal V K, Agarwal A, Kumar R, Sharma M. Awareness, perception and myths towards swine flu in school children of Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh. Indian J Public Health [serial online] 2010 [cited 2019 May 26];54:161-4. Available from: http://www.ijph.in/text.asp?2010/54/3/161/75741

The deadly disease swine flu is, without a speck of doubt, causing a massive havoc among the common people of India and has created fear across the various strata of the society. [1] In April 2009, a new strain of influenza virus, A/H1N1, commonly referred to as "swine flu," began to spread in several countries around the world. Evidence that this new strain could pass from human to human led the World Health Organization to quickly raise its pandemic alert level to phase 5, representing "a strong signal that a pandemic is imminent. [2] This was subsequently raised to phase 6, indicating that a full global pandemic was under way. The 2009 influenza pandemic has affected most countries of the world within a short span of time. [3] Sheer volume of cases that is expected to occur could easily overstretch already fragile and overburdened health services, especially in the developing countries, and cause considerable suffering in human populations around the world. [4] Worldwide there have been more than 375,000 laboratory confirmed cases of pandemic influenza H1N1 in 2009 and over 4500 deaths reported to WHO. [5] Till date (26 October 2009) 13,441 people have tested positive for swine flu in India out of which 414 was from UP. Analysis of data also revealed 77% cases were from 17 major cities, maximum 24% from Delhi and 2% from Lucknow. These two cities are close to Bareilly and visited by all age group of people for various reasons daily. Numbers of suspected cases of Swine Flu were also reported from Bareilly including one confirmed case during the study period. [6]

The media and the government are playing a good role in educating people about the disease, its causes and remedies. [7] The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare joined hands with WHO, UNICEF, and the media to strategize on how to inform and protect the public from Pandemic H1N1 (2009) Influenza at the National Media Communication Workshop held in New Delhi on 23-24 July, 2009. [8] The best we citizens can do is keep ourselves informed about the happenings and the steps we can take to prevent the spread of the flu. [9] Keeping all this in view the study was designed to assess the awareness, perception, and myths regarding swine flu among school going children.

The present cross-sectional study was carried out from June to October 2009 in two senior secondary schools of Bareilly among students of class 9 th to 12 th . According to guidelines for conducting Knowledge, Attitude and Practice study, minimum sample size required for KAP study is 200, [10] for sample to be more representative of population, a total of 400 students were included in the study. The study population was selected by using multistage simple random sampling. In first stage from the list of 30 senior secondary schools in Bareilly, two schools were selected randomly using random number table. In the second stage from the list of students in class 9 th to 12 th of both the schools (482 students in one school and 756 students in other school), 200 students from each school were selected using simple random sampling. All the selected students in both the schools were interviewed through pretested and predesigned questionnaire. The information thus collected was computerized in specific programme developed on Microsoft excel 2007 software. Chi-square test was applied for statistical analysis.

Study populations were 204 boys and 196 girls. Almost all the students (97.75%) have heard about of swine flu and are aware of it as a disease entity. Common symptoms of swine flu such as fever and cough were known to three-fourth of the students (71.5% and 66.5%, respectively), knowledge of cough and cold as a symptom of swine flu was more among girls (75.5% and 72.45%, respectively). The difference was found to be statistically significant. Runny nose which is a very common symptom of swine flu was known to few students (21.56% male and 16.84% female). Among them, 21.7% students had myth regarding spread of swine flu through food, water, and mosquito bite. Availability of medicine and vaccine against swine flu were more known to boys (44.60% and 51.47%, respectively) as compare to girls (40.81% and 42.35%, respectively). Use of mask as a preventive measure against swine flu was known to most (97%) of the students; however, girls were more aware than boys. The difference was found to be statistically significant.

TV was found to be the most common source of knowledge regarding swine flu for both boys and girls (76.96% and 81.12%, respectively). Newspaper in girls (65.81%) and Internet in boys (21.57%) was found more as a source of knowledge regarding swine flu. The difference was found to be statistically significant [Table 1].
Table 1 :Knowledge of students on different aspects of swine flu

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When the students were asked whether they like to visit the person with swine flu it was found that most (79.3%) of them refuse to visit the patient of swine flu. TV and Internet (53.2% and 47.5%) were found to be the main source from which both girls and boys were trying to get knowledge about swine flu (53.92% and 52.55%, respectively). Newspaper was found to be used more by female (55.6%) for getting knowledge as compare to male (35.29%). The difference was found to be statistically significant. Nearly three-fourth of the students were found to be afraid of swine flu (65.5%).

When the students were asked about the method they will use to protect them if they have to visit the patient of swine flu, most (89.7%) of them answer face mask. Three-fourth (75%) of the students were taking precautionary measures such as use of mask (40%), hand washing (43.9%), and no contact with person with symptoms of flu (43.9%) to protect them from getting infected with swine flu. Practice of use of the mask (46.7%) and use of medicine (7.2%) was more among boys as compare to girls (40.2%, and 0.00%, respectively). The difference was found to be statistically significant. Whereas practice of hand washing was more (63.2%) among girls as compare to boys (45.4%). The difference was found to be statistically significant. No girl was found to use medicine to protect them from swine flu.

In this study almost all (97.75%) the students heard about swine flu. However after one of the telephone survey, conducted by Common Health Magazine July 9-11, Chen Chien-jen, a former Department of Health (DOH) minister, said that ratio of people with correct knowledge about the swine flu was lower than he had expected. [11] Awareness was found to be nearly equal among both girls and boys. Most common symptom of swine flu known to students was fever, whereas runny nose which is very common symptom was known only by 19.2% students. Among them, 77.2% of the students reported coughing and sneezing as the mode of transmission of swine flu, whereas a telephonic survey conducted in Taiwan reported less number of interviewer (32.8%) having knowledge of swine flu spread through coughing and sneezing. [11] Few of the students also mention food, water, and mosquito bite (11.7%, 10.5%, and 9%, respectively) as a mode of swine flu transmission. Overall knowledge of various mode of swine flu transmission was more among girls. In our study, almost all the students (97%) mention use of mask as a way of prevention from swine flu whereas hand washing which is a very effective way to prevent swine flu transmission was known only to 78.2% students. In contrast to our study, Rubin et al. in their study [12] reported high percentage (87.8%) of the interviewer believing hand washing role in reducing swine flu transmission and less respondent (24.3%) in favour of use of mask in preventing swine flu spread. Knowledge of availability of medicine was present in less than half of the students (42.7%). However some students also reported the availability of vaccine also. Almost all the students (95.5%) were aware that swine flu led to death. Swine flu is curable was known to three fourth of the students. Knowledge of both the factors was more among boys.

In present study TV was found to be the most common source (79%) from which students get knowledge of swine flu. Radio which is the power full transmitting media for rural population and internet which is gaining popularity among growing generation was found to play little role in providing knowledge of swine flu to the students (14% and 17.7%). Internet was found to be the source of knowledge more for boys as compared to girls.

In our study most of the students show negative response (79.3%) toward visiting the patient of swine flu, similar attitude of the respondent were observed in one of the telephonic survey conducted in England, Scotland, and Wales [12] in which 16.2% and 16.6% people believe that decreasing the number of people they met over the day and avoid visiting hospital reduces the risk of getting swine flu. Most of the students were trying to get knowledge regarding swine flu and main source for them is TV. Two third (65.5%) of the students are found afraid of swine flu, where as less number of respondent (26%) having anxiety toward swine flu were reported by Rubin et al. [12]

Use of mask was found to be the main precautionary measure taken by most (89.7%) of the students if they visit the patient of swine flu. In this study, 74% were taking precaution to protect them from swine flu; however, lower percentage (42.7%) of such respondent was reported in a telephone survey conducted by Rubin et al. [12]

Almost all the students heard about swine flu, but in practice only three-fourth of the students were taking precaution to protect them from swine flu. Use of mask was known as a preventive measure against swine flu to all the students, whereas hand washing which is very effective protective measure against swine flu was known to only three-fourth of the students. Availability of medicine for swine flu was known to less than half of the students. TV and newspaper were the main source of knowledge about swine flu. Most of the students had negative attitude toward visiting the patient of swine flu. TV was the main source from which the students were trying to get knowledge regarding swine flu. The best we citizens can do is keeping ourselves informed about the happenings and the steps we can take to prevent the spread of the flu.

 
   References Top

1.How to combat swine flu India flu fears. http://www.anitbhawani.com/health/combat-swine-flu/ (accessed on 10 th October 2009)  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.World Health Organization.Current WHO phase of pandemicalert.2009. www.who.int/csr/disease/avian_influenza/phase/en/index.html (accessed on 6th November 2009).  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.W.HO. Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 - update 62 http://www.who.int/csr/don/2009_08_21/en/index.html [last revised on 2009 Aug 21]. [last accessed on 2009 Nov 6].   Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.Narain JP, Bhatia R. Influenza A (H1N1): responding to a pandemic threat. Indian J Med Res 2009;129:465-7.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.Pandemic Influenza (H1N1) 2009 update 69. Available from http://www.who.int/csr/don/2009_10_09/en/print.html [last accessed on 2009 Nov 6].  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.Pandemic Influenza. Available from: http://www.mohw-h1n1.nic.in [last accessed on 2009 Nov 6].  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.Krishan K. Media′s reportage on swine flu has improved. Available from: http://www.aol.in/news-story/media′s-reportage-on-swine-flu-has/583648 (accessed on 6th November 2009).  Back to cited text no. 7
    
8.Pandemic H1N1 2009. http://www.Whoindia.org/en/section3.htm (accessed on 6 th November 2009).  Back to cited text no. 8
    
9.Swine flu India, A fight against pandemic. http://www.swinefluindia.com (accessed on 11th November 2009).  Back to cited text no. 9
    
10.Kaliyaperumal K (I.E.C.Expert). Diabetic retinopathy project. Guidelines for conducting a knowledge, attitude and practice study. Community ophthalmology 2004; 4(1): 8  Back to cited text no. 10
    
11.Less than 10% aware of swine transmission modes: Survey. http://www.taiwannews.com.tw/etn/news_content.php?id=1043540andlang=eng_newsandcate_img=49.jpgandcate_rss=news_Society_TAIWAN (accessed on 6 th November 2009).  Back to cited text no. 11
    
12.Rubin GJ, Amlot R, Page L, Wessely S. Public perception, anxiety and behavior change in relation to the swine flu outbreak: cross sectional telephone survey. BMJ 2009; 339: 2651.  Back to cited text no. 12
    



 
 
    Tables

  [Table 1]


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