Open Access Research article

Diagnostic proficiency and reporting of Lassa fever by physicians in Osun State of Nigeria

Samuel Anu Olowookere1*, Akinola Ayoola Fatiregun2, Olalere Omoyosola Gbolahan3 and Ebenezer Gbenga Adepoju4

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Community Health, Faculty of Clinical Sciences, College of Health Sciences, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun state, Nigeria

2 Department of Epidemiology and Medical Statistics, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria

3 Department of Maxillofacial Surgery, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria

4 Department of Preventive Medicine, State Specialist Hospital, Asubiaro, Osogbo, Osun-State, Nigeria

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2014, 14:344  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-14-344

Published: 20 June 2014

Abstract

Background

Lassa fever is highly contagious and commonly results in death. It is therefore necessary to diagnose and report any suspected case of Lassa fever to facilitate preventive strategies. This study assessed the preparedness of physicians in the diagnosis and reporting of Lassa fever.

Methods

The study design was descriptive cross-sectional. The consenting medical doctors completed a self-administered questionnaire on the diagnosis and reporting of Lassa fever. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used in data analyses.

Results

One hundred seventy-five physicians participated in the study. The mean age was 41.5 ± 10.9 years (range, 24–75 years). Most of the physicians were male (78.9%) and had practiced medicine ≥ 20 years (51.5%). Most of the physicians had a good knowledge regarding the diagnosis and reporting of Lassa fever; however, none of the physicians had ever diagnosed or reported a suspected case. Predictors of good knowledge include male sex, not practicing at a secondary health care level and post graduation year more than 20 years.

Conclusion

There is disparity in knowledge and practices of physicians regarding the diagnosis and reporting of Lassa fever. Thus, it is necessary to improve the knowledge and practices of physicians regarding the diagnosis and reporting of Lassa fever.

Keywords:
Assessment; Diagnosis; Reporting; Lassa fever; Nigerian physicians