Background and Aims One of the priorities in public health policy for the control of Cutaneous Leishmaniasis (CL) is to investigate associations between disease distribution, socio-demographical and environmental risk factors, so that rational prevention and control strategies can be developed. Assessment of baseline awareness of the disease amongst the endemic population would be one of the first steps in this direction. This study aims to provide qualitative information on lay perceptions of CL in an endemic area in Saudi Arabia. We also attempted to correlate these perceptions with associated socio-demographical backgrounds.
Methods This was a cross-sectional descriptive survey carried out in Al-Hassa, located in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. The study included 1824 participants, age ranging from 15 to 63 years (mean 35.86 ± 9.54 years).
Results Over 76% of the studied population recognized the infectious nature of CL. There was also good awareness regarding the clinical features of CL, but the awareness regarding the vector, transmission, risk factors and preventive methods were very poor. Our study demonstrated a significantly higher knowledge score correlated with regard to male gender, higher family income, age and a previous history of CL.
Conclusion In our study we found low awareness for important epidemiological aspects like transmission of the disease, risk factors and prevention. Our study provides a baseline to understand and correct deficits in the perceptions and knowledge regarding CL in Saudi Arabia and would provide a template to design interventions.