The novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is the latest in the list of pandemics that is reforming every level of human survival. COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) virus . The WHO declared the COVID-19 disease outbreak a public health emergency of international concern on 30th January 2020, and a pandemic on 11th March 2020 .
SARS CoV-2 belongs to the subfamily Coronavirinae in the family of Coronaviridae. The genome of CoVs is a single-stranded positive-sense ribose nucleic acid (+ ssRNA) . Generally, coronaviruses cause respiratory, digestive, and nervous system diseases in humans and many other animals .
The virus spreads through small liquid particles from an infected person’s mouth or nose when they cough, sneeze, speak, sing or breathe out. These liquid particles range from large respiratory droplets to small aerosols .
Anyone can get infected with the virus and become ill at any time. However, most people infected with the virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. Others will become seriously ill and require medical attention. Older people and those with underlying medical conditions like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, hypertension and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness [6,7,8].
Symptoms of the disease have been classified into three levels according to the severity of the disease; the less common symptoms, the most common symptoms and serious symptoms. The less common symptoms include experiencing sore throat, headaches, aches and pains, diarrhoea, noticing a rash on skin, or discoloration of fingers or toes red or irritated eyes. The most common symptoms include experiencing fever, tiredness, loss of taste or smell and having a dry cough. The serious symptoms include difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, loss of speech or mobility, or confusion and chest pains .
On average it takes 5–6 days from when someone is infected with the virus for symptoms to show up, however it can take up to 14 days for symptoms to show up. Important complications due to the infection include acute respiratory distress syndrome, sepsis, digestive stress, liver injury, hyperinflammatory response, multiorgan failure, thromboembolism and vascular damage [10, 11].
The following current precautionary measures are recommended according to public health standards; wearing face protection in high risk environments e.g., properly fitting surgical mask, practicing physical distancing (at least 1 m apart) from others, practicing good respiratory hygiene by covering the mouth and nose with a cloth when sneezing or coughing or sneezing or coughing in your flexed elbow in the absence of a cloth, choosing open, well-ventilated spaces over closed ones, washing the hands regularly with soap under running water for at least 30 s and cleaning the hands intermittently with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. The others include staying home or indoors if one is experiencing any of the symptoms and getting vaccinated [12,13,14].
Global observations have shown that the success or failure in preventing and controlling the spread of the disease largely relies on human behaviours . This is dependent on the level of knowledge and/or perception of the disease, the attitudes adopted by persons due to the level of knowledge, information and/or perception of the disease and the decision to adhere to the preventive practices (KAP) of the disease. These can be examined via the KAP framework . Knowledge is factual information that a person identifies with. It is also a way of conceiving something borne from an individual’s perceiving. Attitude involve beliefs that predisposes individuals to act in certain ways. They are intermediary between the response to any phenomenon. They reveal the variable stands for an individual submitted to any stimulus which can be directly or indirectly observed and assessed. Practices or behaviours are the observable actions of an individual in response to a stimulus [15, 16]. Generally, the framework provides information about what is already known, perceived, believed and done about a phenomenon of interest among a target population. The findings then reveal misunderstandings, misconceptions and helps to locate aspects where information and education efforts remains to be maximized, and misbehaviors that signify hindrances to the phenomenon of interest . The framework hypothesizes that, knowledge that is considered beneficial translates into optimistic attitude and the practice of the knowledge .
Since the emergence of the pandemic, studies have been conducted to investigate the KAP on the novel COVID-19 among diverse groups including community dwelling adults, parents, health care workers, students etc. [17,18,19,20,21,22]. These studies have allowed us to identify groups that have adequate or deficient knowledge of the disease, groups that have developed positive or negative attitudes to the disease and groups that are adhering to or not to the preventive practices of the disease. By and large, to facilitate effective management of the pandemic globally, an all-inclusive population awareness of the KAP of the disease are fundamentally important. We therefore set forth to contribute to the scientific literature on the scope of COVID-19 by examining the KAP of COVID-19 among deaf persons living in the Ayawaso North Municipality of the Greater Accra region of Ghana.