Knowledge, Attitude and Practices of rabies during an outbreak in Samtse Municipality, Bhutan: A cross-sectional study

Karma Lhendup, Kinley Wangdi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: A rabies outbreak in dogs occurred on February 22, 2021, in the Samtse Municipality, Bhutan. A rapid response team (RRT) was activated comprising of human and animal health teams to investigate and contain this outbreak. An assessment of the knowledge, attitude, and practice (KAP) on rabies was elicited during this period to develop evidence-based education material.

METHODS: A face-to-face KAP questionnaire was administered to a volunteer member of 55 households in two communities (Norbuling and Xing Workshop areas) following the rabies outbreak in the Samtse Municipality from March 15 to 22, 2021. Descriptive statistics were used to describe the demographic characteristics. The associations between the KAP scores were assessed using the Pearson correlation coefficient.

RESULTS: Of the 55 respondents, 63.6% (35) had poor knowledge, 90.9% (50) and 63.6% (35) reported good attitude and practice toward rabies. Three (5.5%) participants had not heard about rabies. The other misconceptions were that rabies can be prevented with antibiotics (67.3%, 37), dressing the bite wounds (20.0%, 11), and seeking treatment from the local healer (5.5%, 3). Correct knowledge was reported on excessive salivation as the sign of the rabid animal (58.2% 32), rabies prevention through vaccination (81.8%, 45), and seeking medical care on the same day (94.5%, 52). Eighty-nine percent (49) vaccinated their dogs and domestic animals annually, 100% received post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) after an animal bite, 78.2% (43) washed the animal bite wounds with soap and water, and 9.1% (5) would consult the local healer for animal bites. A majority (78.2%, 43) of them agreed that rabies is a serious public health problem in the Samtse Municipality and 49.1% (27) agreed that the public was adequately informed about rabies. A positive correlation was observed between the knowledge-practice scores (r = 0.3983, P value = 0.0026), and attitude-practice scores (r = 0.4684, P value < 0.001).

CONCLUSION: The poor knowledge of rabies in this study needs to be addressed urgently. The main misconceptions included were that rabies is not fatal, dressing animal bite wounds, and seeking dog and animal bite care from local healers. Health education should focus on these misconceptions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5361-5368
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of family medicine and primary care
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022
Externally publishedYes


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