Introduction: The first case of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in Nigeria was imported on 20th July 2014, by an air traveller. On 8th August, 2014, WHO declared the Ebola outbreak in West Africa a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). This study aimed at assessing the knowledge, perception and attitude of secondary school students towards EVD and adopting disease preventive behaviour.
Methods: A descriptive cross sectional study of 440 students from a mixed secondary school in Owo, Ondo State was done. Data was collected in October 2014 when Nigeria was yet to be declared EVD free.Simple random sampling was used to select the school while Systematic random sampling was used in the selection of participants. A semi-structured, interviewer administered questionnaire was used to collect data. Data was analyzed with SPSS version 21. Descriptive statistics and Chi-square test were done, level of statistical significant was 5%.
Results: Mean age of respondents was 13.7±1.9 years. Females were 48.2%. Most of the respondents had heard of Ebola Virus Disease (95.4%). Female respondents (51.3%), those who were 15 years and above (51.1%) and in the senior class (54.1%), and had good general knowledge of EVD and across all domains. Being in the senior secondary class and seeking for health care in the hospital were positively associated with good general knowledge (p-value: 0.029, and <0.001 respectively). Three commonest modes of spread of EVD mentioned were contact between infected animals and men (74.8%), touching body fluids of a person who is sick of EVD (57.0%), and contact (55.2%). The top three signs of EVD mentioned were abnormal bleeding from any part of the body (56.10%), vomiting (47.0%) and fever (42.3%).
Conclusion: Our results revealed suboptimal EVD-related knowledge, attitude and practice among the students. Promotion of health messages and training of students on prevention of EVD to effectively control past and future outbreaks of EVD in Nigeria was immediately initiated in schools in Ondo State.