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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 17-20

Knowledge pertaining to COVID19 among medical population of Indian state of Kerala: An online cross-sectional survey

1 Department of Pharmacy Practice, St. Joseph's College of Pharmacy, Alappuzha, Kerala, India
2 Department of Pharmacy Practice, Nirmala College of Pharmacy, Ernakulam, Kerala, India

Date of Submission07-May-2020
Date of Decision12-May-2020
Date of Acceptance21-Jun-2020
Date of Web Publication4-Sep-2020

Correspondence Address:
Ms. Aleena Issac
Department of Pharmacy Practice, Nirmala College of Pharmacy, Muvattupuzha, Ernakulam, Kerala
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jpsic.jpsic_7_20

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The coronavirus disease 2019, the first case of India surfaced in Kerala. Hence, an exploration of knowledge of medical professionals regarding transmission and steps adopted for prevention and spread of disease was assessed via a cross-sectional study, designed and disseminated through media. The study revealed no significant difference in knowledge score based on district, age and medical discipline. However, majority of the participants lacked basic knowledge and opted social media to update knowledge, which pinpoints towards the need for online training courses in newer disaeses.

Keywords: Coronavirus, coronavirus disease 2019, Kerala model of COVID, SARS Cov-2

How to cite this article:
Kochuparambil JJ, Issac A, George S, Panicker NK. Knowledge pertaining to COVID19 among medical population of Indian state of Kerala: An online cross-sectional survey. J Patient Saf Infect Control 2020;8:17-20

How to cite this URL:
Kochuparambil JJ, Issac A, George S, Panicker NK. Knowledge pertaining to COVID19 among medical population of Indian state of Kerala: An online cross-sectional survey. J Patient Saf Infect Control [serial online] 2020 [cited 2021 Jan 21];8:17-20. Available from: https://www.jpsiconline.com/text.asp?2020/8/1/17/294374

  Introduction Top

SARS Cov-2, a new strain of coronaviruses, resulted in a viral respiratory disease called coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) with symptoms similar to pneumonia. This strain was first isolated in the Republic of China on January 7, 2019.[1] Subsequently, the viral disease spread took off and has been reported in various countries. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 as a pandemic as the disease spread to more than 200 countries with 90,000 deaths as of April 9, 2020.[2]

The first 10 cases of COVID-19 in India were reported from Kerala state among travellers from the Republic of China and Italy and their primary contacts.[3] The incidence of the disease was 0.0002 per 1,000,000 people in India.[4]

The state of Kerala thus initiated procedures to prevent the secondary transmission of infections and thus quarantined travellers from COVID-19 reported countries with the isolation of symptomatic people, followed by testing for COVID-19.[5] Educational institutions and other public gathering areas were closed and work from home policy was enforced. The government provided relevant information regarding COVID-19, along with its mode of transmission, ensuring personal hygiene, hand-washing techniques and preventive measures through media.

However, the spread of fake information's via social media and the internet led to inaccurate information, resulting in rumours and false practices among the public. Even though the health-care team, along with medical students, propagated awareness in the community, a gap still existed and even the clinicians were in a double-minded state.

Health-care professionals involved in patient care play an important role in transmission of infection from one patient to the other. They should strictly adhere to the prevention control practices while performing their duties which will help to protect both the patients and themselves.[6] In the SARS outbreaks caused by coronaviruses, which was similar to COVID-19, 21% of total infected were health-care professionals.[7] Therefore, a proper understanding and adherence to recommended guidelines among health-care teams is an essential preventive measure to bring down community viral load to combat outbreaks.

In light of this, the study was designed to assess knowledge of health-care professionals and medical students regarding preventive measures to avoid community transmission of the COVID-19.

  Methodology Top

A cross-sectional study was conducted among medical professionals in all districts in Kerala state to assess knowledge and perceptions of the COVID-19. Participants willing to participate and belong to the medical background (inclusion criteria), consented by clicking the agree button in Google Form, only were included.

The survey time was 1 week (March 18–24, 2020) using convenience sampling (personal contacts for recruiting participants) and snowball sampling (participants requested to circulate the survey among colleagues). The responders were also recruited via social media, dissemination of the Google Form via WhatsApp and Facebook. Marking a double response in the survey was circumvented using internet protocol address blocking. The study included only residents of Kerala State, aged above 18 years.

The questionnaire designed in English and Malayalam developed after reviewing the literature and information from the WHO website. The questionnaire was reviewed by experts regarding the relevance, consistency and local context of the questions.

The questionnaire was composed of three sections. Section A contains demographic details and Section B represented by 6 questions, a question to assess the knowledge regarding the transmission of SARS Cov-2 (epidemiological knowledge) and 5 questions to assess the knowledge regarding precautionary methods (clinical knowledge) to be taken to prevent transmissions such as personal hygiene, social distancing and respiratory symptom management. Knowledge evaluation is done on the score obtained for the correct response. Section C (attitude towards media) contained one question regarding the perception of information from the media to update knowledge.

The total scoring range of 0–6 points was dichotomized, as score 6 was considered good, 4–5; fair and ≤3; poor knowledge. Data entry and analysis were done using SPPS version 20.0 (Armonk, NY, USA).

  Results Top

Of the total 756 responders [Table 1], 69% represented the pharmacy profession, followed by nursing 13%, and the remaining were physicians, physiotherapists, optometrists, microbiologists, medicosocial workers and psychologists. Participants ranged from undergraduate students to working professionals with a dominance of females 57.7% (n = 437) and students as a whole contributed largely to the study (69.7%). The age varied from 18 to 83 years, with a preponderance of 18–30 years (n = 711; 94%).
Table 1: Demographic characters of the study population

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Among all participants, the peak response was received from Ernakulam (n = 121; 16%) and the least response from Kasargod (n = 23; 3%).

The mean knowledge score [Table 2] of 3.341.23 indicated inadequate knowledge. A score ≤3 was represented by 58.6% (n = 443) and good knowledge depiction was minimal (n = 29), majority from the Ernakulam district (n = 7), maximum males (n = 20) and pharmacists (n = 22), individuals belonging to the age group of 18–30 (n = 27). The highest indicator in age group and pharmacists may be due to a high percentage of people coming under that category.
Table 2: Level of coronavirus disease 2019 related knowledge

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The study revealed no significant difference in an individual's knowledge score belonging to different districts (P = 0.075), age groups (P = 0.35), medical disciplines (P = 0.27) and type of participant (P = 0.94). But, the study observed that there was a significant difference in the knowledge levels in the gender group (P = 0.006).

Participants updated knowledge via social media (47.5%), from the medical professionals' advice (26.5%) and scientific medical journals (23.4%). The majority of participants with good knowledge updated themselves using scientific literature (n = 16, 55.1%).

The results point out that knowledge regarding a particular epidemic is not associated with the degree of study and the experience gained in the medical discipline. This finding reflects the importance of educating medical professionals and students, whom the general public may rely on during an outbreak.

The role of media for knowledge upgrading is crucial; hence, social media credibility should be ascertained[8] as it is a powerful source for generating panic.[9] Medical professionals relying on this media to upgrade knowledge might be a disaster and a downfall of a country.

  Conclusion Top

Knowledge of the mode of transmission of the disease is very important in preventing the community spread, and improper knowledge among medical population can amplify the spread of a pandemic. The clinical knowledge regarding precautionary methods to be addressed well and the findings indicate the requirement of knowledge upgradation via online courses and training programs.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Li Y, Xia L. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID19): Role of Chest CT in Diagnosis and Management. Am J Roentgenol 2020;6:1280-6.  Back to cited text no. 1
Cucinotta D, Vanelli M. WHO Declares COVID-19 a Pandemic. Acta Bio Med 2020;91:157-60.  Back to cited text no. 2
Murhekar M, Bhatnagar T, Soneja M, Gupta N, Giri S, Wig N, et al. Lopinavir/ritonavir combination therapy amongst symptomatic coronavirus disease 2019 patients in India: Protocol for restricted public health emergency use. Indian J Med Res 2020;151:184-9.  Back to cited text no. 3
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Lai CC, Wang CY, Wang YH, Hsueh SC, Ko WC, Hsueh PR. Global epidemiology of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19): Disease incidence, daily cumulative index, mortality, and their association with country healthcare resources and economic status. Int J Antimicrob Agents 2020;55:105946.  Back to cited text no. 4
Gupta N, Potdar V, Praharaj I, Giri S, Sapkal G, Yadav P, et al. Laboratory preparedness for SARS-CoV-2 testing in India: Harnessing a network of Virus Research & amp; Diagnostic Laboratories. Indian J Med Res 2020;151:216-25.  Back to cited text no. 5
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Saloojee H, Steenhoff A. The health professional's role in preventing nosocomial infections. Postgrad Med J 2001;77:16-9.  Back to cited text no. 6
WHO. Summary of probable SARS cases with onset of illness from 1 November 2002 to 31 July 2003. https://www.who.int/csr/sars/country/[table 2004]_04_21/en/. [Last accessed on 2020 Apr 26].  Back to cited text no. 7
Lin L, McCloud RF, Bigman CA, Viswanath K. Tuning in and catching on? Examining the relationship between pandemic communication and awareness and knowledge of MERS in the USA. J Public Health (Oxf) 2017;39:282-9.  Back to cited text no. 8
Lin L, Jung M, McCloud RF, Viswanath K. Media use and communication inequalities in a public health emergency: A case study of 2009-2010 pandemic influenza A virus subtype H1N1. Public Health Rep 2014;129 Suppl 4:49-60.  Back to cited text no. 9


  [Table 1], [Table 2]


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