Melioidosis Knowledge Awareness in Three Distinct Groups in the Tropical Northern Territory of Australia

Madusha P. Weeratunga, Mark Mayo, Mirjam Kaestli, Bart J. Currie

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Melioidosis is a potentially life-threatening infection. This study aimed to assess the melioidosis knowledge among distinct participant groups in the tropical Top End of the Northern Territory (NT) of Australia. Participants were categorised into three groups: NT medical students and health research staff (Group 1: Hi-Ed), Aboriginal Rangers and Aboriginal Healthcare Workers (Group 2: Rangers/AHWs), and patients with a history of melioidosis infection (Group 3: Patients). A questionnaire was developed to collect data on demographics, risk and protective factor awareness, and knowledge acquisition sources. We used responses to calculate indices for risk knowledge (RKI), protective knowledge (PKI), overall melioidosis knowledge (MKI), and information sources (ISI). We found that 93.6% of participants in Group 1 (Hi-Ed) said that they had heard of melioidosis, followed by 81.5% in Group 3 (Patients), and 72.0% in Group 2 (Rangers/AHWs). Group 1 (Hi-Ed) participants demonstrated greater knowledge of risk-increasing behaviours but had gaps in knowledge of clinical risks like diabetes. Multiple regression revealed that the number of resources used was the only significant predictor of MKI. There are varying melioidosis knowledge levels across different NT participant groups. Targeted educational interventions are needed to enhance melioidosis awareness. A weblink with an interactive summary of our analysis can be found under Results part.

Original languageEnglish
Article number71
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalTropical Medicine and Infectious Disease
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2024

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