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Effects of ‘The Vicious Worm’ educational tool on Taenia solium knowledge retention in Zambian primary school students after one year

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Organization
Abstract
Background: Taenia solium is a neglected zoonotic parasite endemic throughout many low-income countries worldwide, including Zambia, where it causes human and pig diseases with high health and socioeconomic burdens. Lack of knowledge is a recognized risk factor, and consequently targeted health educational programs can decrease parasite transmission and disease occurrence in endemic areas. Preliminary assessment of the computer-based education program The Vicious Worm' in rural areas of eastern Zambia indicated that it was effective at increasing knowledge of T. solium in primary school students. The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of The Vicious Worm' on knowledge retention by re-assessing the same primary school students one year after the initial education workshops. Methodology/Principal findings: Follow-up questionnaires were administered in the original three primary schools in eastern Zambia in 2017, 12 months after the original workshops. In total, 86 pupils participated in the follow-up sessions, representing 87% of the initial workshop respondents. Knowledge of T. solium at follow-up' was significantly higher than at the initial pre' questionnaire administered during the Vicious Worm workshop that took place one year earlier. While some specifics of the parasite's life cycle were not completely understood, the key messages for disease prevention, such as the importance of hand washing and properly cooking pork, remained well understood by the students, even one year later. Conclusions/Significance: Results of this study indicate that The Vicious Worm' may be an effective tool for both short- and long-term T. solium education of rural primary school students in Zambia. Inclusion of educational workshops using The Vicious Worm' could be recommended for integrated cysticercosis control/elimination programs in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly if the content is simplified to focus on the key messages for prevention of disease transmission. Author summary The zoonotic parasite Taenia solium, commonly known as the pork tapeworm, causes substantial public health and economic losses worldwide. It is commonly found in low-income countries where pigs are raised in areas of poor sanitation, including Zambia. The links between the parasite and its different disease forms in humans and pigs are not very well known, and ignorance of the parasite is a known risk factor for infection. Health education can significantly increase knowledge and awareness of the parasite and can inspire behavioral change that reduces disease transmission. The Vicious Worm' is a computer-based program designed to provide T. solium education in a fun and interactive way. We conducted educational workshops in three primary schools in rural areas of eastern Zambia, and preliminary assessment indicated that the Vicious Worm' educational content significantly improved students' knowledge of T. solium. We also conducted follow-up studies in the same students one year later, and discovered that the students' knowledge was still significantly higher than at baseline. We conclude that The Vicious Worm' may be a useful educational component to enable targeting of school students, and would recommend its inclusion in integrated T. solium control programs in future.
Keywords
HEALTH-EDUCATION, COMMUNITY, INTERVENTION, NEUROCYSTICERCOSIS, CYSTICERCOSIS, PREVALENCE, EPILEPSY, PROGRAM

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MLA
Hobbs, Emma, et al. “Effects of ‘The Vicious Worm’ Educational Tool on Taenia Solium Knowledge Retention in Zambian Primary School Students after One Year.” PLOS NEGLECTED TROPICAL DISEASES, vol. 13, no. 5, 2019.
APA
Hobbs, E., Mwape, K. E., Devleesschauwer, B., Van Damme, I., Krit, M., Berkvens, D., … Gabriël, S. (2019). Effects of “The Vicious Worm” educational tool on Taenia solium knowledge retention in Zambian primary school students after one year. PLOS NEGLECTED TROPICAL DISEASES, 13(5).
Chicago author-date
Hobbs, Emma, Kabemba Evans Mwape, Brecht Devleesschauwer, Inge Van Damme, Meryam Krit, Dirk Berkvens, Gideon Zulu, et al. 2019. “Effects of ‘The Vicious Worm’ Educational Tool on Taenia Solium Knowledge Retention in Zambian Primary School Students after One Year.” PLOS NEGLECTED TROPICAL DISEASES 13 (5).
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Hobbs, Emma, Kabemba Evans Mwape, Brecht Devleesschauwer, Inge Van Damme, Meryam Krit, Dirk Berkvens, Gideon Zulu, Moses Mambwe, Mwelwa Chembensofu, Chiara Trevisan, Jacoba Baauw, Isaac Khozozo Phiri, Niko Speybroeck, Jennifer Ketzis, Pierre Dorny, Arve Lee Willingham, and Sarah Gabriël. 2019. “Effects of ‘The Vicious Worm’ Educational Tool on Taenia Solium Knowledge Retention in Zambian Primary School Students after One Year.” PLOS NEGLECTED TROPICAL DISEASES 13 (5).
Vancouver
1.
Hobbs E, Mwape KE, Devleesschauwer B, Van Damme I, Krit M, Berkvens D, et al. Effects of “The Vicious Worm” educational tool on Taenia solium knowledge retention in Zambian primary school students after one year. PLOS NEGLECTED TROPICAL DISEASES. 2019;13(5).
IEEE
[1]
E. Hobbs et al., “Effects of ‘The Vicious Worm’ educational tool on Taenia solium knowledge retention in Zambian primary school students after one year,” PLOS NEGLECTED TROPICAL DISEASES, vol. 13, no. 5, 2019.
@article{8616529,
  abstract     = {Background: Taenia solium is a neglected zoonotic parasite endemic throughout many low-income countries worldwide, including Zambia, where it causes human and pig diseases with high health and socioeconomic burdens. Lack of knowledge is a recognized risk factor, and consequently targeted health educational programs can decrease parasite transmission and disease occurrence in endemic areas. Preliminary assessment of the computer-based education program The Vicious Worm' in rural areas of eastern Zambia indicated that it was effective at increasing knowledge of T. solium in primary school students. The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of The Vicious Worm' on knowledge retention by re-assessing the same primary school students one year after the initial education workshops. 
Methodology/Principal findings: Follow-up questionnaires were administered in the original three primary schools in eastern Zambia in 2017, 12 months after the original workshops. In total, 86 pupils participated in the follow-up sessions, representing 87% of the initial workshop respondents. Knowledge of T. solium at follow-up' was significantly higher than at the initial pre' questionnaire administered during the Vicious Worm workshop that took place one year earlier. While some specifics of the parasite's life cycle were not completely understood, the key messages for disease prevention, such as the importance of hand washing and properly cooking pork, remained well understood by the students, even one year later. 
Conclusions/Significance: Results of this study indicate that The Vicious Worm' may be an effective tool for both short- and long-term T. solium education of rural primary school students in Zambia. Inclusion of educational workshops using The Vicious Worm' could be recommended for integrated cysticercosis control/elimination programs in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly if the content is simplified to focus on the key messages for prevention of disease transmission. 
Author summary The zoonotic parasite Taenia solium, commonly known as the pork tapeworm, causes substantial public health and economic losses worldwide. It is commonly found in low-income countries where pigs are raised in areas of poor sanitation, including Zambia. The links between the parasite and its different disease forms in humans and pigs are not very well known, and ignorance of the parasite is a known risk factor for infection. Health education can significantly increase knowledge and awareness of the parasite and can inspire behavioral change that reduces disease transmission. The Vicious Worm' is a computer-based program designed to provide T. solium education in a fun and interactive way. We conducted educational workshops in three primary schools in rural areas of eastern Zambia, and preliminary assessment indicated that the Vicious Worm' educational content significantly improved students' knowledge of T. solium. We also conducted follow-up studies in the same students one year later, and discovered that the students' knowledge was still significantly higher than at baseline. We conclude that The Vicious Worm' may be a useful educational component to enable targeting of school students, and would recommend its inclusion in integrated T. solium control programs in future.},
  articleno    = {e0007336},
  author       = {Hobbs, Emma and Mwape, Kabemba Evans and Devleesschauwer, Brecht and Van Damme, Inge and Krit, Meryam and Berkvens, Dirk and Zulu, Gideon and Mambwe, Moses and Chembensofu, Mwelwa and Trevisan, Chiara and Baauw, Jacoba and Phiri, Isaac Khozozo and Speybroeck, Niko and Ketzis, Jennifer and Dorny, Pierre and Willingham, Arve Lee and Gabriël, Sarah},
  issn         = {1935-2735},
  journal      = {PLOS NEGLECTED TROPICAL DISEASES},
  keywords     = {HEALTH-EDUCATION,COMMUNITY,INTERVENTION,NEUROCYSTICERCOSIS,CYSTICERCOSIS,PREVALENCE,EPILEPSY,PROGRAM},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {5},
  pages        = {15},
  title        = {Effects of ‘The Vicious Worm’ educational tool on Taenia solium knowledge retention in Zambian primary school students after one year},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0007336},
  volume       = {13},
  year         = {2019},
}

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