Rabies is a fatal neglected viral zoonosis which causes encephalitis in many warm-blooded animals and humans. It is an incurable disease once the clinical signs appear. However, it can be prevented via vaccination and community awareness. This study was therefore designed to determine the level of community knowledge, attitude and practices (KAP) regarding rabies. Cross sectional study was conducted from December 2016 to January 2017 in Dedo district, Jimma zone, southwestern Ethiopia. Multistage sampling technique was employed for selection of sample unit and data were collected from 135 household by face-to-face interview using a semi structured and validated questionnaire. Logistic regression was used for assessing the association of independent variable with KAP score. Out of 135 participants interviewed, 71.1% were urban and 57% were male respondents. All (100%) participants had heard about rabies and 88.9% were aware that rabies is zoonotic. However, there were misperceptions about the causes, transmission and incubation period of rabies. Overall KAP score revealed that 51.9% of the respondents had a good KAP, whereas 48.1% was found to have poor KAP score. Multivariable analysis showed that a good KAP score was significantly higher in male than female (OR= 37.16, CI=4.7- 92.1, p= 0.001), in age group >46 years than 15 to 30 years (OR=8.9, CI=1.6-47.2) in urban than rural residents (OR=4.35, CI=1.3-14.14, p= 0.014), education (P= 0.040), in respondent who were at secondary school education level than illiterate (OR=7.7, CI=1.05 - 56.64), in dog owners than those who had no dog (OR=2.9, CI=1.12-7.93, P=0.029), and in trained respondents than non-trained respondents (OR=3.37 CI=1.17-9.69, p=0.024). Generally, the overall, KAP score recorded in this study is an indication of low overall awareness level in the study area. This reflects the urgent need for rabies awareness programmes within the community. Thus, close collaboration of public health, veterinary sector and local authorities is a key element for preventing this fatal incurable disease.
Key words: Attitudes, knowledge, rabies, practices, Dedo.
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