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Timely treatment-seeking behavior can reduce morbidity and mortality due to infectious diseases. Patterns of treatment-seeking behavior can differ by access to health care, and perceptions of disease severity and symptoms. We evaluated the association between self-reported symptoms at last illness and the level of treatment-seeking behaviors. We analyzed cross-sectional data from 1,037 participants from the lowlands and highlands of Western Kenya from 2015 using logistic regression models. There was considerable heterogeneity in the symptoms and treatment-seeking behaviors reported among individuals who were febrile at their last illness. A greater number of self-reported categories of symptoms tended to be associated with a higher likelihood of treatment-seeking in both sites. Participants were significantly more likely to seek treatment if they reported fever, aches, and digestive symptoms at last illness than just fever and aches or fever alone, but the frequency of treatment-seeking for fever in combination with aches and respiratory symptoms did not follow a consistent pattern. Among those who sought treatment, most used a formal source, but the patterns were inconsistent across sites and by the number of symptoms categories. Understanding the drivers of treatment-seeking behavior after febrile illness is important to control and treat infectious diseases in Kenya.
Financial support: The present analyses were conducted with no funding sources. The primary study was funded via NIH/NIAID R15 Al100118-01.
Authors’ addresses: Valerie Madera-Garcia, Melanie L. Bell, and Kacey C. Ernst, College of Public Health, University of Arizona, Tucson, E-mails: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, and firstname.lastname@example.org. Jenna E. Coalson, Eck Institute for Global Health, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN, E-mail: email@example.com. Maja Šubelj, National Institute of Public Health, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Mary H. Hayden, Lyda Hill Institute for Human Resilience, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, CO, E-mail: email@example.com. Maurice Agawo and Stephen Munga, Kenya Medical Research Institute, Centre for Global Health Research, Kisumu, Kenya, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.