Cadernos de Saúde Pública
On-line version ISSN 1678-4464
BORGES, Bárbara Kellen Antunes et al. Assessment of knowledge and preventive attitudes concerning visceral leishmaniasis in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais State, Brazil. Cad. Saúde Pública [online]. 2008, vol.24, n.4, pp. 777-784. ISSN 1678-4464. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0102-311X2008000400007.
The main objective of this study was to evaluate knowledge concerning visceral leishmaniasis and attitudes used to prevent the disease in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais State, Brazil, in 2006. A case-control study was conducted, with home visits and a questionnaire. The odds ratio was calculated, comparing 82 cases of human visceral leishmaniasis in 2004 and 164 controls (neighbors of cases). The disease was more frequent in children (OR = 109.77). Visceral leishmaniasis was 2.57 times more likely in males than in females. Overall schooling level was low (68.3% of subjects had not completed secondary school). Half of the cases did not know what visceral leishmaniasis was, and only 1.2% could identify the vector. Having basic knowledge of visceral leishmaniasis reduced the odds of acquiring the disease by 2.24 times. Keeping the house clean and taking pet dogs to the veterinarian reduced the risk by 1.94 times. In Belo Horizonte, the population's level of knowledge on visceral leishmaniasis is superficial, and preventive attitudes are inaccurate.
Keywords : Visceral Leishmaniasis; Risk Factors; Knowledge; Disease Prevention.