The emergence of H5N1 led to increased global attention as the virus could potentially represent the source of the next human influenza pandemic. The disease has led to the loss of millions of birds which constitute a major source of animal protein. This study was therefore aimed at determining the knowledge and preventive practices related to Avian influenza among livestock keepers and poultry traders in Ikorodu, Lagos state, Nigeria. A descriptive cross sectional survey was conducted using standardized structured questionnaire administered at interview. The mean age of respondent was 34.5 ±10.5 years; only 38.1% of respondent correctly defined Avian influenza as a disease of bird caused by H5N1 virus. Majority (77.5%) of respondents were aware that the virus could be transmitted from bird to bird while 41.8% knew that transmission could be from birds to human. Only 28.7% stated correctly that wild birds are the common vectors of the virus. Preventive practices adopted include hand washing (70.5%) and wearing of overall (61.5%). However only about half (54.1%) modified their work habit by hand washing after touching birds for fear of getting avian influenza. Main source of information on Avian influenza was the mass media (57.9%). Predictors of knowledge of Avian influenza included education (P < 0.001), being a poultry trader (P < 0.001) and older respondents (P < 0.031). Predictors of preventive practice included education (P< 0.001) and being a livestock farmer (P< 0.001). This study suggests that education predicted knowledge and practice of preventive measures among the poultry workers.
Key words: Avian influenza, livestock farmers, poultry traders, knowledge, preventive practice.
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