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 ~  Abstract
 ~ Introduction
 ~ Subjects and Methods
 ~ Results
 ~ Discussion
 ~  Supplement 1: Qu...
 ~  References
 ~  Article Figures
 ~  Article Tables

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  Table of Contents  
ORIGINAL ARTICLE: COVID-19 SERIES
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 38  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 144-151
 

Gender and occupation predict Coronavirus Disease 2019 knowledge, attitude and practices of a cohort of a South Indian state population


1 Department of General Medicine, Great Eastern Medical School and Hospital, Srikakulam, Andhra Pradesh, India
2 Department of Microbiology, Nimra Institute of Medical Sciences, Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh, India

Date of Submission16-Jun-2020
Date of Decision17-Jun-2020
Date of Acceptance18-Jun-2020
Date of Web Publication29-Aug-2020

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Sridhar Amalakanti
Department of General Medicine, Great Eastern Medical School and Hospital, Ragolu, Srikakulam, Andhra Pradesh
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ijmm.IJMM_20_263

Rights and Permissions

 ~ Abstract 


Context: Coronavirus disease 2019 (CoViD 19) pandemic has induced the government to initiate strict control measures. Improvements to these measures and shortcomings could be gleaned with the understanding of the knowledge, attitude and practices (KAP) of the public. Aims: The aim of this study the CoViD 19 KAP of a south Indian state population. Settings and Design: This was a Cross-sectional observational study. Subjects and Methods: We conducted an online survey to elicit this information. Statistical Analysis Used: Mean, Standard deviation, Binomial and Multinomial logistic regression. Results: Of the 1837 subjects who answered the survey, 70% were youth (16–29 years), 54% were postgraduates and 47.8% were desk jobholders. The mean knowledge score was 9.92 ± 2.37/14 and 94.44% secured at least above-average score. The subjects had a positive (70%) attitude towards the CoViD 19 situation and 77% of subjects followed good preventive practices. However, we found that women, people with low education and nonmedical background were associated with poor knowledge and practices. The attitude was poor in subjects occupant in physical works. Conclusions: The health policy would better serve the purpose of the groups with poor scores are targeted.


Keywords: Coronavirus disease 2019, knowledge, attitude and practices, COVID 19 Indian study


How to cite this article:
Amalakanti S, Raman Arepalli KV, Koppolu RK. Gender and occupation predict Coronavirus Disease 2019 knowledge, attitude and practices of a cohort of a South Indian state population. Indian J Med Microbiol 2020;38:144-51

How to cite this URL:
Amalakanti S, Raman Arepalli KV, Koppolu RK. Gender and occupation predict Coronavirus Disease 2019 knowledge, attitude and practices of a cohort of a South Indian state population. Indian J Med Microbiol [serial online] 2020 [cited 2020 Oct 20];38:144-51. Available from: https://www.ijmm.org/text.asp?2020/38/2/144/293905





 ~ Introduction Top


Coronavirus disease 2019 (CoViD 19), a respiratory disease caused by SARS COV 2[1] has been reported in 4,006,257 people worldwide. Moreover, it has killed 278,892 patients by 11 May 2020.[2] As of the 1st week of May 2020, there is no drug/vaccine against the virus.[3] Prevention, therefore, remains the key defence against the disease. To prevent the spread of the infection, countries worldwide have put their states into lockdown with restrictions of all travel and movement of people out of their homes except for emergency purposes.[4] India, the second most populated country in the world, announced lockdown very early in the epidemic.[5] It has recorded 67,152 cases, with 2206 deaths by 11 May 2020.[6] It has also launched public awareness campaigns through the media apart from the curfew to sensitise and update the citizens about CoViD 19.

The effectiveness of all these measures depends on the people's adherence to the government directives and measures. This, in turn, is based on the knowledge, attitude and practices (KAP) regarding the virus in the general public. The pandemic is a totally unprecedented situation to the people, and thus, the response of the public to the unique circumstances needs to be understood for any effective disease control planning. The people's knowledge about the disease, its mode of spread, symptoms and preventive measures form their attitudes and drive their actions. The sources through which most of the general public seek information about the situation can only be understood by a survey from the people directly. An understanding of the attitude of the public towards CoViD19 can help predict the response to government measures. Since CoViD19 is contagious, the practices of the public towards transmission prevention need to be studied to plan strategies matching the deficiencies. This data of the KAP will provide light on the weakest links in disease prevention.[7] This information can improve efficient health policy planning. We studied the KAP aspects in a group of the Indian population of Andhra Pradesh state wherein the disease is on the rise in May 2020.


 ~ Subjects and Methods Top


In the South Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, we conducted a KAP study concerning the CoViD19 epidemic. A 55-point questionnaire [Supplement 1] was answered online by the subjects (age >15 years) who were recruited through Whatsapp/Facebook/Twitter or other social media. This online mode was chosen because of the strict lockdown. The response was limited to one per device. The questionnaire [Supplement 1] was opened to responses from 29th April 2020, to 2nd May 2020 on Google forms platform. Questions included demographic data, knowledge about CoViD 19, attitude towards CoViD 19 situation and infection preventive practices domains. Questions on knowledge carried one mark for the correct answer and zero for wrong/don't know response. The questionnaire was initially tested for validity and reliability. Two experts in public health, one news personnel and a microbiologist assessed and commented on the questionnaire. Modifications were made accordingly. Pretesting of the questionnaire was done on 20 subjects. They answered the questionnaire twice 2 weeks apart. Cronbach's alpha was 0.73 and the intraclass correlation coefficient was 0.96. The study was approved by the institutional ethical committee at the Great Eastern Medical School, Ragolu.(10/IEC/GEMS and H/2020). As participation was voluntary, it was considered as consent for the study. The data were extracted to the Microsoft excel sheet and analysed. The sample size was calculated based on a previous study.[8] The sample size obtained was 1632. Measures of central tendency and frequencies were described. Parametric quantitative data were described by the mean and standard deviation. Qualitative data were described by frequencies and analysed by binary logistic regression and multinomial logistic regression. Subgroup analysis was performed on similar lines. Statistical significance was set at P < 0.05. Missing data were excluded from analysis. Data analysis was performed with SPSS software-version 20.0 (SPSS Inc. Chicago, IL, USA). Responses were graded into three categories of knowledge. Score <5/14 = Poor knowledge. 6–10 = Average score. More than 10 = Very good score.

Responses to attitude questions were added, and responses with score <7 were considered as poor attitude. Responses to practice questions were added, and responses with a score <7 were equated to poor practices.


 ~ Results Top


A total of 1837 people answered the questionnaire. The demographic details are presented in [Table 1].
Table 1: Demographic details of the subjects

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Of the participants, 70.6% were youth with elderly people forming only 4.8%. Both the male and female gender were almost equal in number (Males-56.5%, Females-43.1%). Participants were predominantly educated, with 44.8% constituting the 10th standard to degree level and 54% more than degree level. Desk workers, including people working in offices, shops, clinics (47.8%) and students (39.4%), were also represented in the study. About 55% were related to the medical profession. Four CoViD-positive patients also responded.

Knowledge

The mean knowledge score of the subjects was 9.92 ± 2.37. Significantly 94.44% people had at least average knowledge (score >5) [Figure 1]. [Figure 2] shows that most of the participants obtained knowledge regarding CoViD 19 from television and google search. [Table 2] shows that age 35–50, female gender, intermediate education and non-medical background were the factors associated with poor knowledge of COVID-19. In our study, 15.6% of participants did not have accurate knowledge of CoViD 19 symptoms. And 13.4% of subjects did not recognise the higher risk for elderly people.
Figure 1: Knowledge score categories among the subjects

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Figure 2: Sources of coronavirus disease 2019 information

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Table 2: Binomial logistic regression for factors associated with poor coronavirus disease knowledge

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Attitude

Most of our participants (70%) had a positive attitude towards CoViD 19 situation [Figure 3].
Figure 3: Attitude of subjects towards coronavirus disease 2019

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[Table 3] shows that people engaged in physical work when compared to desk work are associated with poor attitude towards CoViD-19. To the question of whether we could control the virus completely, 74.6% responded positively, 2.2% responded negatively and 23.2% were ambivalent. Multinomial logistic regression shows the negative responses to this question were associated with male gender (P = 0.002, odd's ratio = 4.82,95% confidence interval [CI] 1.76–13.24) and housework occupation (P = 0.04, odd's ratio = 8.03,95% CI 1.10–58.55).
Table 3: Binomial logistic regression for factors associated with poor coronavirus disease 2019 attitude

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In this study, 18% of subjects constantly worried about contracting the disease. Moreover, 29.9% of participants did not worry. The rest 52.1% worried sometimes but not all the time.

Practices

[Figure 4] shows that a high proportion (77%) of people followed good practices to prevent CoViD 19 infection. Also, 9% of subjects had good practicing habits before CoViD 19 pandemic.
Figure 4: Coronavirus disease 2019 infection prevention and practices

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[Table 4] shows that female gender, house working occupation and lower knowledge score are associated with poor practices. People who started wearing face masks after CoViD 19 epidemic were 81.7%, those who wore masks inconsistently were 9.3% and those who still did not wear masks were 4%. Moreover, 4.9% wore masks even before CoViD 19 epidemic. Multinomial logistic regression showed that intermediate education (10th standard to degree) was associated with not wearing a mask (P = 0.01, odd's ratio = 0.41, 95% CI 0.20–0.84).
Table 4: Binomial logistic regression for factors associated with poor coronavirus disease 2019 prevention practices

Click here to view


After the epidemic, 85% of subjects avoided crowds. However, 9.5% of them opined that it is not always possible to avoid crowds. Moreover, 1.2% did not make any active attempt to avoid crowds. Interestingly, 4.3% of subjects had always avoided crowds long before the pandemic. Multinomial logistic regression showed that housework occupation (P = 0.01, odd's ratio = 38.63, 95% CI 2.16–689.80) and currently married status (P = 0.02, odd's ratio = 0.05, 95% CI 0.004–0.56) were associated with not avoiding crowd behaviour.

In this study, 77% of subjects used sanitiser/soap when they washed their hands. But 11.7% did not use it. Among the subjects, 11.3% had always had this practice.


 ~ Discussion Top


Our online survey to understand the KAP of a group of subjects in Andhra Pradesh, a state with rising CoViD 19 cases in India (May 2020), showed that >90% of subjects had above-average knowledge. The subjects acquired information of CoViD 19 from television and Google search (Internet). Predictors of poor knowledge were middle age, female gender, intermediate education and lack of medical background. In our study, 70% of subjects had a positive attitude towards the control of CoViD 19. The subjects occupied in physical work had a poor attitude. Importantly, 77% of participants followed good practices against CoViD 19 infection. And, 9% even practiced them before the epidemic. Female gender, low knowledge and housework occupation were associated with poor practices.

The presence of a high proportion of youth, educated people and desk job workers in our study may be due to the nature of the recruitment of subjects. As we recruited subjects through social media linked to smartphones, which are mostly used by these groups, our study was represented by them. Other online studies also showed a similar profile of responders. A study performed in China had a similar demographic profile.[7] A large United States (US) and United Kingdom (UK) study with 6000 participants was constituted by a high proportion of youth.[9] An Egyptian CoViD 19 KAP study reported 48% of youth and 52.2% university graduates.[10] Young subjects were the predominant responders in two other different locations.[11],[12] Two other studies [11],[13] reported subjects constituting 75%–85.58% of responders who had university-level education.

The high proportion (94.44%) of participants with at least average knowledge of CoViD 19 shows that the subjects were well informed. This result was in line with a large study in China with 90% correct responses. This was 69% in a Ugandan study [12] and 62% in a study from Paraguay.[11] Television and Google (Internet search) were the predominant sources of information in our study, mirrored in a Thailand study.[8] The use of television and social media by the Indian central and state governments to disseminate CoViD 19 news and education has thus been utilised by the public. Our study supports the continuation of this usage policy. In the Egyptian study, social media (66.9%), the Internet (58.3%) and television (52.6%) were the main sources of CoViD 19 information.[10] A study from the United Arab Emirates showed that 61% participants accessed CoViD 19 information through social media.[14] It was as high as 83.5% in a study from Kuwait.[13] While social media (74%), television and radio (72%), were a significant source of knowledge for Ugandan health workers,[12] the government website (79%) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) (88%) were more accessed sources of information.

The middle age group (30–49), females, and the people educated up to 10° were associated with poor knowledge in our study. This may be due to preoccupation with day to day work/worry. Women busy with household work may have less access to information and factual knowledge.[15],[16] The undereducated by way of social communication via phone, etc., and the highest educated by continuous news and digital media updates [17] may be abreast with CoViD 19 knowledge. Nonmedical background with poor knowledge is understandable and is seen in other studies also.[18] The comparative predictors of poor knowledge in four studies are shown in [Table 5].
Table 5: Predictors of poor knowledge in different studies

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In our study, 15.6% of subjects did not know the signs and symptoms of CoViD 19. In the Thailand study,[8] this was up to 56.7%. In the US,[9] it was 21.2%, in the UK [11] it was 16.4%, and in Kuwait, it was 12.4%–26.9%.[13] It may mean that either the subjects had not had a strong sensitization to the clinical signs and symptoms or are not confident to answer affirmatively regarding this aspect. As this is an important factor to identify or suspect a CoViD 19 victim, more penetrant knowledge providing measures on this aspect may be planned by the knowledge providers.

Compared to 3.7% of subjects in the US [9] and 1.7% subjects in the UK,[9] 13.4% of our study subjects did not know that the elderly are more severely affected by CoViD 19. This may be due to differences in the knowledge between the Western and Eastern world.[20]

In our study, 70% of subjects had a positive attitude towards CoViD 19 prevention and course. It was over 90% in the Chinese population.[9] This confidence may be due to the strict lockdown control measures by the government [5] the success of these measures in Chinese [21] and also due to the low case fatality rate in the Indian peoples.[22] The poor attitude in subjects occupied in physical labour may be due to loss of work, potential layoffs [23] and also the low educational status (associated with poor attitude). This is also seen in the Thailand study data [8] [Table 6].
Table 6: Poor attitude predictors across studies

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[Table 7] shows the attitude predictors across studies regarding the control of the epidemic.
Table 7: Predictors of poor attitude with respect to control of the epidemic

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An earlier small Indian study focusing on mental issues reported that 72% of participants worried about the risk for infection.[24] The Egyptian study reported that 86.9% of participants are worried of contracting the infection.[10] In Thailand,[8] 57.9% of participants reported that they worry about CoViD 19. In our study, 18% participants felt so. This comparatively lower value may be due to the early severe lock down [5] measures by the government and the slow spread of the disease compared to other countries.[22]

In our study, 77% of participants followed good practices, while 9% of them had these habits before the epidemic. These good preventive practices were reported to be 47.37% in Thailand,[8] 97.2% in China,[19] and 89.7% in a Chinese healthcare worker study [25] and 74% in a Ugandan health worker study.[12] These suggest that a good number of people practice preventive measures against CoViD 19, and the proportion is understandably high in health care-associated people. As half of our participants had a medical background, we recorded a high percentage of good practices. The predictors for poor CoViD 19 infection preventive practice across studies included are shown in [Table 8].
Table 8: The predictors for poor coronavirus disease 2019 infection preventive practice across studies include

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Poor practices were associated with females, house workers and low knowledge in our study. Poor knowledge in the females who generally do the housework in India [15],[16] may be an important factor. This group then should be a target for better sensitization against CoViD 19.

In our study, 4% of subjects did not wear masks. It was 37% in the earlier Indian mental health study [24] and 65% in the Egyptian study.[12] This behaviour is as high as 83% in the Thailand study.[8] This may be due to the rural background and lower education status of the Thailand study [8] participants. A Paraguayan study reported 25.69% of participants not wearing a mask.[11] Interestingly, a study done in an earlier phase of the pandemic reported that 46% of health-care workers did not wear a mask in duty.[12] Conflicting guidelines from the Center for disease control [26] and the WHO [27] may be one reason. Across studies, the factors associated with not wearing masks are shown in [Table 9].
Table 9: Predictors of not wearing mask across studies

Click here to view


In our study, 11.7% did not wash their hands with sanitizer soap. Among the Ugandan health workers, it was only 4%.[12] In Thailand,[8] 54.8% did not. Probably, due to lower education and rural residence of Thailand [8] study participants.

Our study showed that 85% of the subjects avoided crowds to prevent infection. This is similar to 90% reported in the previous indian study.[24] A study from Paraguay reported 88.35% crowd avoidance practice.[11] This may be due to the awareness and intention of the public or due to the government imposed curfew. Across the different studied there were different predictors of avoiding crowds [Table 10].
Table 10: Predictors of not avoiding crowds across the studies

Click here to view


The responders of our study were mostly educated and young. Uneducated and elderly were not overtly represented in the study. The study is also subject to the honesty and recall bias of the subjects. Other limitations of the study were access to smartphone and knowledge of english language. Overall, the subjects had good knowledge of CoViD 19. Their information sources were television and the internet. Our study shows the need to improve the CoViD 19 knowledge in women, people with low education and no medical background and in the adult age group. There is a need to address the attitudes amongst physical workers.

Conclusion

Across the discussed CoViD 19 KAP studies, it is reflected that poor knowledge is associated with lower education, poor attitude with manual work and poor practices with house workers. These aspects should be considered under any global interventions against CoViD 19.

Acknowledgement

We thank Dr Srikanth Guttikonda and Mr. Madhusudhana Rao Korada for questionnaire assessment. Mr. Teja Jallepalli for his help with Ms. Excel. We thank Dr. Abhiram Chadalawada for helping with hardware.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.


 ~ Supplement 1: Questionnaire Top


General Questions

  1. My age is


  2. 16-29

    30-49

    50 and above

    Other:

  3. I am a


  4. Male

    Female

    Other:

  5. I am


  6. Never married

    Married

    Other:

  7. I have studied


  8. <5th std

    6–10th std

    10°/diploma

    More than degree

  9. My daily work before Covid19.


  10. Office

    Shop/clinic/hospital

    Housework

    Physical work

    Student

    Not working

  11. I am a medical person/student


  12. Yes

    No

  13. Presently I am living


  14. At home

    Locked outside due to curfew in another place

    In home quarantine

    In govt quarantine place

  15. I am presently living


  16. In Andhra or Telangana

    Outside Andhra or Telangana but in India

    Outside India

  17. There are children below 15 years of age in our family with us now


  18. Yes

    No

  19. There are adults above 50 years age in our family with us now


  20. Yes

    No

  21. I have diabetes (blood sugar)


  22. Yes

    No

  23. I have kidney disease


  24. Yes

    No

  25. I have lung disease


  26. Yes

    No

  27. I am a smoker


  28. Yes

    No

  29. I am using chemotherapy


  30. Yes

    No

  31. I had a liver/kidney/major organ transplant


  32. Yes

    No

  33. I have heart disease


  34. Yes

    No

  35. I have liver disease


  36. Yes

    No

  37. I have a body mass index (BMI)>40


  38. Yes

    No

  39. I have HIV infection


  40. Yes

    No

  41. I have/had CoViD19


  42. Yes

    No

  43. I read/see about CoViD19 from


Newspaper

Television

Google

WhatsApp/Facebook/Twitter/Instagram

Other:

Knowledge Questions

  1. CoViD19 in the body can be killed by taking medication 1 point


  2. Yes

    No

    Don't know

  3. Elderly people are severely affected by the virus 1 point


  4. Yes

    No

    Don't know

  5. People with lung problems are severely affected by CoViD19. 1 point


  6. Yes

    No

    Don't know

  7. The USA has made a successful vaccine against CoViD19 1 point


  8. Yes

    No

    Don't know

  9. Fever, cough and difficulty in breathing are seen in CoViD19 patients 1 point


  10. No

    Not sure

    Yes

  11. In India, home quarantine means 1 point


  12. Staying in home + no visitors

    Maintaining one meter distance from family members in home

    Using face mask at home

    Using separate utensils at home

    All of the above

    Other:

  13. It is scientifically proven that eating wild animals causes CoViD19 infection 1 point


  14. Yes

    No

    Don't know

  15. Coronavirus positive persons can transmit infection without fever or cough 1 point


  16. True

    False

    Don't know

  17. Corona virus is spread by droplets from mouth and nose 1 point


  18. True

    False

    Don't know

  19. Coronavirus 19 infected people will show disease features within 14-28 days 1 point


  20. True

    False

    Don't know

  21. The country with the highest number of CoVirus positive cases till April 28 was 1 point


  22. USA

    Italy

    China

  23. In India, CoViD 19 infection is tested (as of April 28th) by 1 point


  24. Throat/nasal swab

    Blood test

    Both

    Don't know

  25. Corona virus can spread through touch 1 point


  26. True

    False

    Don't know

  27. CoViD19 epidemic started in 1 point


  28. Italy

    China

    India

  29. Older people should be more careful than younger ones


Yes

No need

Other:

Practice

  1. We started to clean all packets/substances (milk packets, chips, chocolate, packed food, plastics) brought from outside


  2. Yes

    No

    Most of the time but not every time

    I wash all items long before CoViD19 outbreak

  3. I started washing hands with sanitizer/60% spirit


  4. Yes

    No

    I wash hands with sanitizer long before CoViD19 outbreak

  5. I started washing hands for 20 seconds


  6. Yes

    No

    Not always

    I wash hands for 20 seconds before CoViD19 outbreak

  7. I started washing my hands when I come from outside every time


  8. Yes

    No

    Not every time but most of the times

    I wash my hands long before CoViD19 outbreak

  9. I started maintaining distance from other people when going out


  10. Yes

    No

    Not possible every time

    I maintain distance long before CoViD19 outbreak

  11. I avoid groups of people nowadays


  12. Yes

    No

    It is not possible every time

    I avoid crowds long before CoViD19 outbreak

  13. I started to wear a mask when I go out after CoViD19 outbreak


  14. Yes

    No

    Most of the time

    I am using mask long before CoViD19 outbreak

  15. I have started washing hands frequently


Yes

No

Not frequently but sometimes

I wash my hands frequently long before CoViD19 outbreak

Attitude

  1. I will be happy to isolation/quarantine if I am tested to be positive


  2. Yes

    No

    Other:

  3. I will test myself for CoViD19 if it is available in private


  4. Yes

    No

    Not sure

  5. I will go to a govt doctor if I have symptoms


  6. Yes

    No

    Maybe if symptoms are severe

  7. Food, milk packets and cool drink bottles from outside should be washed with sanitizer


  8. Yes

    No

    Not always

  9. I would like to check my CoViD 19 status


  10. Yes

    No

    Not sure

  11. I would like to check my CoViD19 status if it is free


  12. Yes

    No

    Not sure

  13. I would like to check my CoViD19 status even if fee has to be paid


  14. Yes

    No

    Not sure

  15. Anyone with the symptoms of the infection should report to the authorities themselves


  16. Yes

    No

    Depends on the situation

  17. We will definitely control the CoViD19 epidemic spread


  18. Yes

    No

    Not sure

  19. I worry about getting infected by the present epidemic coronavirus every day


Yes

No

Sometimes, not everyday



 
 ~ References Top

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2.
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    Figures

  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3], [Figure 4]
 
 
    Tables

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4], [Table 5], [Table 6], [Table 7], [Table 8], [Table 9], [Table 10]



 

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2004 - Indian Journal of Medical Microbiology
Published by Wolters Kluwer - Medknow

Online since April 2001, new site since 1st August '04