Background: The government of India launched the pulse polio immunization (PPI) programme in 1995 with the aim of eradicating poliomyelitis by the end of 2000. Despite this, 733 children with polio were reported in 2009 alone. Therefore, there is a need to understand the reason underlying such high numbers of cases after so many years of programme implementation. This study was performed to assess the knowledge of the general population about poliomyelitis and PPI and their attitude and practice towards PPI. Method: This cross-sectional study was undertaken in two semiurban areas of Mangalore city. Only houses in which children under five lived were included in the study. Data was collected by interviewing any adult member of the household using a pretested questionnaire. Results: The literacy rate of study participants was 99%. Only 35(10.9%) participants knew the correct mode of transmission of polio. More than one quarter of the study population were under the misconception that polio is a curable disease. The primary source of information about PPI in majority of participants was the television (n = 192; 60%). Two-hundred and eighty eight (90%) participants knew that the purpose of PPI was to eradicate polio. Only 128 (40%) participants knew that polio drops can be given to children with mild illnesses and an identical number of participants knew that hot food stuff should not be given for at least half an hour following vaccination administration. Misconceptions such as PPI causing vaccine overdose was identified among 7 (2.2%) participants, it is a substitute for routine immunization was believed among 30 (9.4%) participants and that oral polio vaccine prevents other diseases was seen among 76 (23.7%) participants. The educational status of the participants was significantly associated with their awareness level (χ2 =13.668, DF=6, P=0.033). Conclusion: This study identified a few important misconceptions associated with polio and PPI which need to be addressed by large scale awareness campaigns in order to achieve polio eradication in the near future.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes