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Knowledge, attitudes, and practices relating to dengue fever among high school students in Makkah, Saudi Arabia

Sultan A Alhazmi, Nahla Khamis, Bahaa Abalkhail, Sultan Muafaa, Ahmad Alturkstani, Abdulhafiz M. Turkistani, Sameer Almahmoudi.

Background: The incidence of dengue fever (DF) is rapidly increasing globally, and now 128 countries are endemic by it. Today, DF is considered as one of the most important vector-borne diseases in terms of mortality and morbidity. The prevention and control of DF is one of the most important priorities because of the continuous increases in the number of cases globally.

Objective: To evaluate the baseline level of knowledge, attitude, and practice (KAP) about DF and their predictors among high school students in Makkah City, Saudi Arabia.

Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study was designed and was conducted at Makkah high schools during the educational year 2014/2015. A multistage stratified random sample method with a proportional allocation technique was used in the study. The stratifications took into consideration the gender, school type, geographic educational district, specialty of the student, and educational year. Ten schools were randomly selected in Makkah to evaluate KAPs of students about DF. A total of 362 questionnaires were completed.

Result: This study showed that knowledge about DF was deficient; 59%, 32.7%, and 8.3% of the students obtained poor, fair, and satisfactory knowledge scores, respectively. Having heard about DF was the strongest predictor for having high knowledge score (t test = 4.47, p < 0.001). This was followed by female gender (t test = 5.81, p < 0.001) and positive family history of DF (t test = 3.18, p < 0.01). The only factor that significantly affected the self-reported practices scores was their level of knowledge about the disease (t test = 3.16, p < 0.01).

Conclusion: KAP toward DF was deficient among target populations. School-based educational campaigns and social mobilizations are needed to raise the awareness and to translate knowledge into sound practice within all schools in Makkah City.

Key words: Dengue fever, knowledge, attitude, practices, high school, students

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