Objective: To determine the frequency and determinants of knowledge of dengue infection in three sites in northern Thailand, and to compare prevention measures of people with and without knowledge of dengue.
Methods: In May 2001 we conducted an epidemiological survey among 1650 persons living in three areas in northern Thailand. Knowledge of dengue and the use of prevention measures were measured by means of a structured questionnaire. Differences in knowledge of dengue and the use of prevention measures between risk groups were calculated by chi-square test. Logistic regression was used to identify determinants of knowledge.
Results: Of the 1650 persons, 67% had knowledge of dengue. Fever (81%) and rash (77%) were the most frequently mentioned symptoms. Persons with knowledge of dengue reported a significantly higher use of prevention measures than persons without knowledge of dengue. In multivariate analyses, knowledge of dengue significantly differed by age, sex, occupation and site (P < 0.05). Younger people knew more about dengue than older persons: adjusted odds ratio (aOR) of 6.75 [95% confidence interval (CI): 4.32-10.6] for the 15-29 age group compared with people aged 60 and older. In comparison with farmers (reference group), knowledge of dengue was significantly higher among students (aOR: 10.6, 95% CI: 4.27-26.4), but lower among housewives or unemployed persons (aOR: 0.44, 95% CI: 0.31-0.64).
Conclusion: The overall knowledge of dengue was high, but housewives, unemployed and old persons had relatively little knowledge of dengue. Therefore, these groups may need special attention in future dengue education programmes. Persons with knowledge of the disease more frequently reported the use of preventive measures, indicating the value of education programmes as a tool in dengue prevention.