Understanding of COVID-19 high among Chinese workers, study finds

11-Sep-2020 9:00 AM EDT, by PLOS

Newswise — Understanding workers’ knowledge, attitudes and practices regarding COVID-19 is crucial to preventing it and controlling it. Now, researchers reporting in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases report that Chinese workers are highly aware of, and informed about, COVID-19 but there is still a need for strengthening this knowledge, and health interventions, among older and less-educated workers. 

The importance of public education and community engagement in outbreak responses is well established. Previous studies have indicated that surveys on knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) have helped inform many outbreak responses. The vast majority of studies on COVID-19 have focused on the disease’s etiology, clinical characteristics, and therapies or vaccines.   

In the new work, Chen Mao of Southern Medical University, China, and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional study based at a large labor-intensive factory in Shenzhen, China, which has 180,000 factory workers from around China. Between February 2 and 7, 2020, all workers were invited to participate in an online survey that asked about sociodemographic characteristics, and KAP related to COVID-19. 

Data from 123,768 respondents was included in the final analysis. The mean knowledge score regarding COVID-19 was 16.3 points out of a total possible score of 20 points. Most respondents understood basic information about the symptoms, knew preventive measures for the disease, agreed that COVID-19 is a serious disease, and knew where and how to seek treatment. However the researchers also found common misperceptions, such as only 29.4% of respondents disagreed with the statement that gargling salt water can protect against infection. Overall, older respondents had lower levels of knowledge and practices related COVID-19 and better-educated respondents tended to have the highest levels of KAP. 

“These results suggested that health authorities need to ensure correct information on COVID-19 prevention and strengthen health interventions, particularly for older and less-educated workers, to combat rumors and misinformation and reduce public panic,” the researchers say.

 

Funding: The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

 

Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

 

About PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases

PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, the first journal solely devoted to chronic and poverty-promoting infectious diseases affecting the world’s poorest populations, publishes rigorously peer-reviewed research on all scientific, medical, political and public health aspects of NTDs. Commentary on wide ranging topics – from policy discussion to clinical education and topical debates – keep readers current on the implications of research discoveries.  For more information, visit http://journals.plos.org/plosntds, and follow @PLOSNTDs on Twitter.

 

Media and Copyright Information

For information about PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases relevant to journalists, bloggers and press officers, including details of our press release process and embargo policy, visit http://journals.plos.org/plosntds/s/press-and-media.

PLOS journals publish under a Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits free reuse of all materials published with the article, so long as the work is cited. 

 

About the Public Library of Science
Public Library of Science (PLOS) is a nonprofit Open Access (OA) publisher, innovator and advocacy organization dedicated to accelerating progress in science and medicine by leading a transformation in research communication. The PLOS suite of journals contain rigorously peer-reviewed Open Access research articles from all areas of science and medicine, together with expert commentary and analysis. In addition to journals, the organization advances innovations in scientific publishing through Collections, Communities and The PLOS Blog Network. Founded to catalyze a revolution in scientific publishing by demonstrating the value and feasibility of Open Access publication, PLOS is committed to innovative and forward-looking solutions to scientific communication. For more information, visit https://www.plos.org/who-we-are.

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