In early 2015, a patient from a cluster of cases of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in Monrovia, Liberia traveled to a rural village in Margibi County, potentially exposing numerous persons. The patient died in the village and post-mortem testing confirmed Ebola Virus infection.
The Margibi County Health Team (CHT; Kakata, Margibi, Liberia) needed to prevent further transmission of EVD within and outside of the affected villages, and they needed to better understand the factors that support or impede compliance with measures to stop the spread of EVD.
In February-March 2015, the Margibi CHT instituted a 21-day quarantine and active monitoring for two villages where the patient had contact with numerous residents, and a 21-day active monitoring for five other villages where the patient had possible contact with an unknown number of persons. One contact developed EVD and quarantine was extended an additional 12 days in one village. In April 2015, the Margibi CHT conducted a household-based EVD knowledge, attitudes, and practices (KAP) survey of the seven villages. From April 24-29, 2015, interview teams approached every household in the seven villages and collected information on demographics, knowledge of EVD, attitudes about quarantine to prevent the spread of EVD, and their quarantine experiences and practices. Descriptive statistics were calculated.
One hundred fifteen interviews were conducted, representing the majority of the households in the seven villages. Most (99%) correctly identified touching an infected person’s body fluids and contact with the body of someone who has died from EVD as transmission routes. However, interviewees sometimes incorrectly identified mosquito bites (58%) and airborne spread (32%) as routes of EVD transmission, and 72% incorrectly identified the longest EVD incubation period as ≤seven days. Eight of 16 households in the two quarantined villages (50%) reported times when there was not enough water or food during quarantine. Nine of 16 (56%) reported that a household member had illnesses or injuries during quarantine; of these, all (100%) obtained care from a clinic, hospital, or Ebola treatment unit (ETU).
Residents’ knowledge of EVD transmission routes and incubation period were suboptimal. Public health authorities should consider assessing residents’ understanding of Ebola transmission routes and effectively educate them to ensure correct understanding. Quarantined residents should be provided with sufficient food, water, and access to medical care.
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