Knowledge, Attitude, and Practices towards Leptospirosis among University Students in Seremban and Local Community in Jempol Area, Negeri Sembilan

Lead Researcher:

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Syafinaz Amin Nordin, UPM

 

Co-researchers:

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Razitasham Safii, UNIMAS

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Siti Khairani Bejo, UPM

Dr. Gayathri Thevi Selvarajah, UPM

Abdul Rahman bin Mohamad Gobil, UiTM

 

Project Summary

Leptospirosis is a significant zoonotic disease with the worldwide occurrence. It has become public health importance and is considered as a re-emerging disease especially so with the environment where leptospira are abundant. Leptospirosis is acquired by contact with infected animals or urine-contaminated environments such as soil or water. Given its significant morbidity, leptospirosis has become a notifiable disease in Malaysia. In Negeri Sembilan, there is a steady increase in the number of cases of Leptospirosis since 2006 to 2009. The purpose of this study is to disseminate knowledge about leptospirosis and its preventive measures among the university students in Seremban and the local community in Jempol, Negeri Sembilan. This study had assessed knowledge, attitude and practices (KAP) towards leptospirosis among 264 community members in Jempol, which was followed by a health promotion program focusing on the disease. In addition, 183 university students went through a leptospirosis awareness program in the form of a treasure hunt where they performed tasks and activities with their group members. Their knowledge towards leptospirosis was assessed before and after this activity.

Health Education and Promotion on the Importance of Good Hygiene Practices When Dealing With ‘Bush Meat’ Among the Orang Asli in Belum.

Lead Researcher:

Dr. Siti Fatimah Kader Maideen, PMC

 

Co-researchers:

Prof. Dato’ Dr. Abdul Rashid Khan, PMC

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Rozita Hod, UKM

Dr. Lau Seng Fong, UPM

Dr. Tengku Renalfi Putra Tengku Azizan, UPM

 

Project Summary

Orang Asli is the indigenous people, among whom some are hunters and eat bush meat for a living. Eating raw contaminated meat, improper handling of infected meat or carcasses, especially with bare hands increases their risk of contracting zoonotic diseases. A health awareness program to improve the knowledge of the Orang Asli community on the risk of contracting diseases associated with hunting activities and increase their personal hygiene practices is essential to reduce the impact of these diseases on health. A health promotion program was conducted among Jahai adults aged 18 years and above in Belum from 18-20 August 2017. Prior to the program, ethical approval was obtained from Joint Penang Independent Ethics Committee (JPEC) and Jabatan Kemajuan Orang Asli (JAKOA). A self-developed questionnaire on knowledge and practices was used to interview the participants whereby there after a health promotion program was conducted. The community was educated on the identification of healthy and sick animals; types of diseases that they are at risk of contracting to if they eat or handle contaminated bush meat; sign and symptoms of infection, mode of transmission and the prevention methods. They were also educated on the importance of proper hand hygiene, including cutting fingernails periodically, washing hands with soap before and after eating, and after touching animals. They were also educated on the importance of getting treatment, should they notice any differences in their health. The community was informed of the precautionary measures that to be taken while handling the animals and its carcasses. A total of 102 out of 150 adults participated in the program, giving a response rate of 68%. Majority of them (81.4%) eats bush meat for a living. However, only 37.9% of them knew that animal transmits diseases to humans. The most common bush meats that they eat were monkeys (77.1%), porcupine (62.7%) and squirrel (46.9%). Majority of them (76.2%) cooks the bush meat immediately. About 98.5% of them hunt a wild animal to eat. Only about 11% of the participants used personal protective equipment when handling the carcasses. In conclusion, despite the majority of the community were bush meat eaters, yet they had poor knowledge and practices in regards to disease transmissions and handling of contaminated bush meats and its carcasses.

Understanding the Perception and Knowledge on Antimicrobial (AM) Usage and AMR among Ruminant Farmers in Selangor

Lead Researcher:

Dr. Rozaihan Mansor, UPM

 

Co-researchers:

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Noraziah Mohamad Zin, UKM

Dr. Nur Indah Ahmad, UPM

Dr. Sharifah Salmah Syed Hussain, UPM

 

Project Summary

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has been regarded as a shared global problem in human and animal populations due to an overwhelming increase in the emergence of resistant microorganisms towards antimicrobials. In veterinary medicine, antimicrobials should be seen as vital medicines and farmer’s responsibility to control this incidence is crucial through prudent use of antimicrobials in their livestock. This community grant entitled ‘Understanding the perception and knowledge on antimicrobial (AM) usage and AMR among ruminant farmers in Selangor’ aims to assess the farmers and farm workers’ perception and knowledge on AMR and AM usage in ruminant livestock. Other than that is to identify factors influencing the antibiotic usage in ruminant farming and lastly to educate and increase the level of awareness among farmers and farm workers in Selangor on AMR and responsible AM usage in ruminant farming. A set of a questionnaire (English and Bahasa Malaysia) was distributed to a number of ruminant farmers around Selangor identified from Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) Selangor to collect information on the level of awareness on antimicrobial usage and antimicrobial resistance among ruminant farmers. As part of the educational program, a seminar was done on 7th September 2017 at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, UPM whereby questionnaires were also distributed among the participants. Awareness campaign and poster presentations on the prudent use of antimicrobials and AMR were delivered by Dr. Redzuan Ibrahim from DVS Putrajaya and Prof. Dr. Saleha Abdul Aziz. There was also a laboratory demonstration from Bacteriology Laboratory by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Siti Khairani Bejo in which the participants were given a chance to perform swabbing of any surfaces on blood agars and how bacterial isolation and antimicrobial sensitivity test was done in a laboratory. It is hoped that through this knowledge transfer, it will benefit the ruminant farmers’ community about the importance to a better understanding on AMR and its impact on human and animal health. In return, this activity serves as a platform for the One Health professionals to integrate knowledge and ultimately promoting habits that reduce antibiotic use among farmers and increasing their risk awareness related to antibiotics in ruminant husbandry.

Effectiveness of ‘Teen’s Health in a Healthy Way’ Package in Understanding One Health Concept to Adolescent

Lead researcher:

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Rosnah Sutan, UKM

 

Co-researchers:

Prof. Dr. Saleha Abdul Aziz, UPM

Dr. Mohd Sham Othman, UKM

 

Project Summary

An interactive package ‘Teen’s Health in a Healthy Way’ is designed to provide necessary preventive health information related to human, zoonosis, and environment (One Health). Being inquisitive and with a thirst for new knowledge, the adolescent group is targeted as a potential messenger to enhance population on current public health infectious disease prevention. A single group quasi-experimental study was conducted aimed to assess the effectiveness of “Teen’s Health in a Healthy Way’ in improving knowledge on preventive health information related to selected One Health. Thirty students of Form 1 classes were chosen randomly by the school counsellors from 3 secondary schools in Mukim Beranang, Selangor. Three components were used for the package intervention namely interactive talks, skill-enhancing activities (handwashing demonstration) and games (dart, word search, and jigsaw puzzle). For games activity, each school is divided into 3 smaller groups, and each game activity took 30 minutes to complete. Awareness and knowledge related to One Health diseases focus on disease presentations, causative agents, routes of transmission, treatment, and disease prevention practices were tested using self-administered pre- and post-questionnaires. The questionnaire consists of four components which are knowledge of the concept of One Health, Leptospirosis, Dengue Fever and Toxoplasmosis. A total of 83 teenagers (92.2% response rate) were recruited in the program that lasted for 2 hours with direct observation by their teachers. Zoonotic disease prevention banner, booklets and soft copy of all activities held were given to each school aimed at the sustainability of the program in the school. An analysis comparing the overall score of participants’ knowledge pre and post-intervention showed there was significant improvement mean of knowledge score after intervention program (t = – 15.08, p <0.001). The adolescent group can be used as an agent to disseminate information to their school colleagues using interactive gaming method like ‘Teen’s Health in a Healthy Way’ package.

School Zoonotic Diseases Awareness Program

Lead Researcher:

Dr. Mohd Mokrish Md. Ajat, UPM

 

Co-researchers:

Dr. Nur Indah Ahmad, UPM

Dr. Juriah Kamaludeen, UPM

Dr. Taznim Begam Mohd Mohidin, UM

Dr. Noor Soffalina Sofian Seng, UKM

 

Project Summary

School Zoonotic Diseases Awareness Program is a project designed by Dr. Mohd Mokrish Md. Ajat from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine UPM Serdang campus and Dr. Juriah Kamaludeen from the Faculty of Agriculture and Food Sciences UPM Bintulu campus. The program was conducted from 10th of July to 11th of July 2017, and Universiti Putra Malaysia Bintulu Campus was selected as a host to organize this two days program in assessing and creating awareness on zoonotic diseases among school students. Prior to the program, a training session for volunteers was conducted on the 8th of July 2017. A number of 20 volunteers comprised of undergraduate, postgraduates and lab assistants were trained to perform activities throughout the program. Volunteers were introduced to the basic concept of One Health and went through the modules developed to create awareness among school students on zoonotic diseases. With the alarming increase of zoonotic diseases in Malaysia such as leptospirosis and rabies, this program is essential to educate children on the importance of prevention from zoonotic diseases. Students were assessed before and after the program. Preliminary results show that the level of students’ awareness on zoonotic diseases increased after taking part in this program.

Assessing the Roles of Black Flies in the Transmission of Zoonotic Filarial Parasites in Indigenous Communities in Peninsular Malaysia

Lead Researcher:

Dr. Low Van Lun, UM

 

Co-researchers:

Prof. Dr. Sazaly Bin Abu Bakar. UM

Dr. Chandrawathani Panchadcharam, Department of Veterinary Services

Dr. Maria Lourdes Lardizabal, UMS

 

Project Summary

Information on the filarial fauna in black flies and the host preferences of blood-feeding blackflies in Malaysia are unknown. We aim to uncover the prevalence, infection pattern and dynamics of filarial parasites in animals, humans, and blackflies. We also focus on new species discovery of blackflies given that the fauna of blackflies in Malaysia has not been fully discovered. To date, two species of black flies were collected by Malaise trap, one of which is new to science and to be formally described and named was discovered from Pahang. Raining season is affecting the distribution of black flies which has affected the numbers of blackflies collected by malaise trap. Light trap and animal bait will be used in the next sampling to overcome the problem. The filarial fauna and host preferences of black flies are yet to be determined.

Development of Tailor-Made Emergency Response Plan Procedure: Incorporating One Health Aspects into the Occupational Safety and Health of Zoo Negara Malaysia

Lead Researcher:

Dr. Emilia Zainal Abidin, UPM

 

Co-researchers:

Prof. Dr. Noor Hassim Ismail, UKM

Dr. Karmegam Karuppiah, UPM

Dr. Sarva Mengala Praveena, UPM

Dr. Irniza Rasdi, UPM

Dr. Sharifah Norkhadijah Syed Ismail, UPM

 

Project Summary

Emergency Response Plan (ERP) is an essential element in any organization management. Zoo Negara Malaysia is a unique setting in which its fundamental hazards are distinctively different from other workplaces with significant public access in its premises as workers work closely with wildlife animals. Apart from the common potential emergency such as fire, Zoo Negara is more exposed to physical and biological hazards associated with wildlife animals that live and breeds in captivity. There are currently 160 workers employed in Zoo Negara, notwithstanding adolescents and adults who volunteer at the premise and also the 200-300 visitors daily. Recently, Universiti Putra Malaysia has established collaborative links regarding Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) with Zoo Negara. With recent communication with the management, there are no tailor-made ERP, which takes into account all potential emergencies involving structured risk assessment of possible hazards has been developed. The existing ERP is concerned with animal escape prevention. As such, there is a pressing need for the development of systematic ERP for Zoo Negara which takes into account One Health concept. This study will involve basic OSH methods to develop tailor-made ERP that considered all potential emergencies including zoonosis. The team of researchers will train the representative employees of Zoo Negara which consist of zookeepers, veterinary doctors, nurses and other technical staffs in a series of sessions in this community project. The team of researchers will work together with approximately 120 students under the Bachelor Program of Environmental and Occupational Health for the training program at Zoo Negara. The teams will work on assessing risks from all hazards before developing response plans from the identified potential emergencies. The developed ERP will then be tested (simulated with external agencies) to identify any weaknesses for further correction. The trained Zoo Negara team will then be able to improve the ERP annually. This research will help Zoo Negara ensure the safety and health of all stakeholders and aid-in the compliance of the Malaysian OSH law.

Leptospirosis: Screening and Awareness Study among Dog Handlers in Malaysia

Lead Researcher:

Dr. Lau Seng Fong, UPM

 

Co-researchers:

Dr. Rosnah Ismail,UKM

Dr. Taznim Begam binti Mohd Mohidin, UM

Dr. Khor Kuan Hua, UPM

Dr. Puteri Azaziah Megat Abdul Rani, UPM

 

Project Summary

Leptospirosis is the most widespread zoonotic disease in the world. In Malaysia, studies on leptospira were mainly focused on livestock, rats, and human, but not companion animals. Although dogs are presumably related with a low prevalence of leptospirosis and often assumed protected with vaccination protocol implemented, but due to close contact with human, they can be the potential carrier of disease transmission.   Previous studies conducted in Malaysia showed that the seroprevalence of leptospirosis in dog population (sheltered dogs and working dogs) was between 3.1–7.0% and the common serovars found were bataviae, icterohemorrhagiae, canicola, javanica, and australis. Some of these serovars are not available in the vaccine. Hence, we propose to investigate the seroprevalence of leptospirosis in dog handlers whose are in close contact with dogs. The objective of this study is to determine of seroprevalence of leptospirosis in dog handlers that have close contact with dogs and to identify the risk factors related to occupational and non-occupational activities. During the conduction of the project, One Health interventional concept will be implemented to increase the knowledge and awareness of the dog handlers about leptospirosis. This activity was carried out among the dog handlers from dog shelters and canine units from different government agencies. In total, more than 300 participants were involved in this activity. Presentations were given to the participants in Bahasa Malaysia.  Pre- and post-questionnaires showed that there was an increase in the understanding about both Leptospirosis in human and animals. Some medical supplies were also provided to the involved parties as post activity intervention. However, the language barrier was found mainly in the shelters since most of the handlers in shelters came from either Myanmar, Indonesia, Nepal or other countries. Their understanding regarding the zoonotic diseases was extremely limited, due to their level of education. In addition to that, some managers of the shelters were not interested to know about the zoonotic disease and did not give full cooperation when the talk was delivered. Further education is urgently needed for this group of handlers and their management in the future as most of the handlers live in the shelter with poor hygiene. At the end of each presentation, blood samples were collected in both human and dogs and stored at -80oC until further analysis. Blood samples will be analysed by using microagglutination test (MAT), and the results will be informed to the involved shelters and government agencies within two months. Recommendations will be given accordingly based on the outcome. Further formulation of suitable modules for shelters and government agencies should be developed so that it can be used as a guideline in handling the animals.

Instilling Good Knowledge, Better Attitudes, and Practices on Dog Associated Zoonotic Diseases among a Jahai Community

Lead Researcher:

Prof. Dato’ Dr. Abdul Rashid Khan, PMC

 

Co-researchers:

Dr. Puteri Azaziah Megat Abdul Rani, UPM

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Malaika Watanabe, UPM

Dr. Lau Seng Fong, UPM

Dr. Azizah Ab Manan, Penang State Health Department

Dr. Surajudeen Abiola Abdulrahman, PMC

Dr. Sharifah Salmah Syed Hussain, UPM

 

Project Summary

This study was conducted among the Jahai Orang Asli, (an indigenous minority living in Peninsular Malaysia) in the Belum Forest in Perak, Malaysia. The Jahai are mostly hunter-gatherers. Hence dogs were essential for them for hunting purposes. However, because of the change in the job types, the dogs are not commonly used for hunting anymore, and because there are no natural predators, the dogs have bred extensively and wander around the village without owners. There are estimated 100 dogs in the community not cared for and they pose a risk for zoonotic infections transmitted by dogs to the community. This situation is compounded by poor personal hygiene, inadequate washing and cooking of food and perceived poor knowledge, attitude, and practices of the Jahai community regarding dog associated zoonotic infections.  The primary objectives of the study were to determine the knowledge, attitudes, and practices (KAP) of the Jahai Orang Asli towards dog associated zoonotic infections and to develop One Health intervention strategies to break the chain of dog-associated zoonotic infections among the Jahai Orang Asli living in Sungai Tiang in Belum area. In total, three trips were made to the village, first for preliminary data collection, health promotion, and awareness. The second trip was for health education and health promotion among the Jahai children of the village followed by the final trip for post-intervention data collection. The final phase of the study was conducted in September and the data is being analysed at the moment. Preliminary analysis suggests that the community have poor KAP on zoonotic infections transmitted by dogs. Out of the 40 samples obtained from the 37 dogs and 3 cats from Jahai community, the antibody against Leptospira lai was demonstrated in a cat and 2 dogs showed seropositivity against Leptospira icterohaemorrhagiae and one positive for Leptospira australis. Fourteen out of 40 samples were positive for dirofilariasis based on PCR study. Other results investigating toxoplasmosis and gastrointestinal protozoa are still pending. In total 70 undergraduates and 40 postgraduate students from medical, veterinary and allied health sciences benefited from the exposure. We are in the opinion that the dogs should be culled, castrated or spayed to control the population and the health promotion and education intervention must be consistent and persistently followed up and the level of success measured at regular intervals. We are looking for grants to continue the projects although there are many obstacles.

Seroprevalence of Pteropine Orthoreovirus and Awareness of bat Transmitted Zoonotic Diseases in Tioman Island

Lead Researcher:

Dr. Nurul Azmawati Binti Mohamed. USIM

 

Co-researchers:

Dr. Mohd Dzulkhairi Mohd Rani, USIM

Prof. Datin Dr. Che Ilina Che Isahak, USIM

Dr. Nur Indah Ahmad, UPM

Dr. Kenny Voon Gah Leong, IMU

Frankie Thomas Sitam, PERHILITAN

Shalinawati Ramli, USIM

 

Project Summary

Bat-related infections had remained out of focus despite notable outbreaks such as Ebola, SARS, MERS-CoV, and Nipah were known to originate from bats. In recent years, new bat-related viruses such as Tioman virus (TioPV) and Pteropine Orthoreovirus (PRV) had been discovered, but little is known about them. We identify that it is imperative to assess the health awareness of the people of Tioman Island against bat-borne infections and the immunology of the newly emerging virus, PRV. The study used 40-item questionnaires in face-to-face interviews with more than 300 participants to assess awareness of the residents of Tioman Island about bat-related infections. Serology investigation of 175 serum samples (obtained from residents of Tioman Island) was used to measure the prevalence and immunologic activities of the natural human antibodies against PRV. We reported the score of awareness according to three elements of knowledge, attitude and practice, as weak, neutral and good respectively. This result reflects that awareness of bat-related infections was still lacking, but practices against them were good among residents of Tioman Island. The result implicates and suggests improvements to promote healthy practices against bat-related infections. Serology study is still ongoing, but early results revealed 48% of serum sample showing some antibodies response to the cell lines infected with PRV. Lab work is continuing to affirm these results and investigate immunologic activities against the virus. The percentage of immunologic activities found to not coincide with the previous molecular study which revealed the presence of PRV in active URTI is 17% [Voon et al. 2015]. Among the residence of Tioman Island, knowledge and attitude against bats-borne infections were poor but practice against them were good. Early serology study revealed a high proportion of immunologic activities among residents of Tioman Island against PRV (48%), but more work is being done to verify and investigate it further.