SQUIRRELS AND TRANSMISSION OF LEPTOSPIROSIS: AWARENESS AND PERCEPTION OF THE UNIVERSITY OF IBADAN MAIN CAMPUS RESIDENTS, NIGERIA
The co-existence or interaction of squirrels with humans and domestic animals within the urban environment could serve as an interface for the disease transmission like leptospirosis. The study examined the level of awareness and perception of the University of Ibadan campus residents on squirrels as it relates to human transmission of leptospirosis. Data were collected through the administration of 102 copies of semi-structured questionnaire to residents of the University of Ibadan living quarters using simple random sampling technique. Data obtained were subjected to descriptive and correlation analysis. Data were analysed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences version 20 with statistical significance set at α005. The socio-demographic characteristics of the respondents showed that majority were males (56.9%), singles (61.4%) had HND/B.Sc as highest educational qualification (44.0%) and had resided within the study area for less than 10 years (64.5%). Most respondents (64.7%) felt safe seeing squirrels around them while a good number of them (37.3%) did know if squirrels carry organisms that cause leptospirosis. Majority of the respondents (58.8%) did not know if leptospirosis is a common zoonotic disease while 51.0% did not know some of the symptoms of leptospirosis. There was a positive correlation (r=0.012) between educational status and perception of leptospirosis. There is need for proper education as regards squirrels being potential carriers of leptospira bacteria and this should be done in such a way that residents do not attack or aim at eradicating squirrels in the study area.
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