Seasonal influenza infection: Knowledge and perception of university
students in a rural area in Lebanon and determinants of influenza
Objective: This study was conducted to assess the knowledge and practice
regarding influenza infection among university students in a rural area
in Lebanon, and to check their influenza vaccination practices. Methods:
A survey was performed on private university students in Bekaa valley, a
rural area of Lebanon. An interviewer-administered 4-section
questionnaire was used to record sociodemographic characteristics,
knowledge about influenza, knowledge about influenza vaccination, and
influenza vaccination status. Knowledge scores were set, where
knowledgeable respondents were those correctly answering ≥ 50% of
knowledge questions about influenza or influenza vaccination. Data were
analyzed using SPSS version 18. Descriptive analysis with frequency
tables was performed. A p-value of 0.05 was set as significant level for
analysis. Results: One-hundred twenty-eight students from various
schools completed the questionnaire. In knowledge questions, 39% of
respondents were not knowledgeable regarding influenza. Females were
more knowledgeable regarding influenza than males (p = 0.001, OR = 1.6).
Many respondents believed that influenza was not life threating (48%),
while 64.8% believed that they do not have enough information regarding
influenza. About 58% of the respondents reported being vaccinated, and
those were more knowledgeable regarding influenza vaccine (p = 0.047).
The most common reason for vaccination was fear of getting influenza
(33%). Vaccination significantly correlated with medical provider visit
during the last 6 months (p=0.022). Conclusions: This study highlighted
a gap of knowledge among university students regarding influenza.
Raising awareness about influenza and its vaccination remain essential
to in this population.