Background: Dengue virus infection causes significant morbidity and mortality in most tropical and sub-tropical countries of the world. Dengue fever is endemic in Jamaica and continues to be a public health concern. There is a paucity of information on knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) of Jamaicans regarding dengue infection.
Objective: To describe dengue-related knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) of residents of Westmoreland, Jamaica.
Methods: A cross-sectional questionnaire survey of 192 parents attending child health clinics in the Parish of Westmoreland was conducted.
Results: More than half of the parents (54%) had good knowledge about signs, symptoms and mode of transmission of dengue. Approximately 47% considered dengue to be a serious but preventable disease to which they are vulnerable. Nevertheless, a majority (77%) did not use effective dengue preventive methods such as screening of homes and 51% did not use bed nets. Educational attainment (OR, 2.98; CI, 1.23, 7.23) was positively associated with knowledge of dengue. There was no correlation between knowledge about dengue and preventive practices (p = 0.34). Radio and TV were the predominant sources of information about dengue fever.
Conclusion: Findings suggest that the good knowledge about dengue fever among residents of Westmoreland did not translate to adoption of preventive measures. Health programme planners and practitioners need to identify and facilitate removal of barriers to behaviour change related to control of dengue fever among the population. Future campaigns should focus on educating and encouraging individuals and families to adopt simple, preventive actions, such as, use of insecticide treated bed nets and screening of homes.