Cutaneous leishmaniasis: knowledge, attitude and practices of the inhabitants of the Kani forest tribal settlements of Tiruvananthapuram district, Kerala, India

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Abstract

Cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) is reported among Kani tribes in forest settlements of Tiruvananthapuram district, Kerala, India.
Epidemiological investigations are ongoing and 27 histopathologically confirmed cases of CL have been reported from five settlements
indicating transmission of disease within settlements. One of the priorities for control/prevention of CL is to create awareness
among the community and ensure optimal utilization of interventions. First step in this direction would be to carry out a
situation analysis on prevailing knowledge, attitude and practice (KAP) of inhabitants. A study among 103 respondents from
10 Kani tribal settlements showed that though 39.8% of respondents recognized pictures of CL shown to them, but did not have
any lay perceptions. There was absolutely no awareness on vector, transmission, risk factors and control measures. The role
of sandflies in CL causation was not known to the residents and this prevented them from using any personal protection and
adhering to control measures which in turn pose risk of spread of infection within settlements and to newer areas. CL has
emerged as a challenging infection in this area and an urgent need for designing appropriate preventive measures and health
education strategies is addressed in this article.

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