Assessment of COVID-19 Related Misinformation among the Community in Basrah, Iraq

Abstract

Background: There has been a rapid rise in cases of COVID-19 infection and its mortality rate since the first case reported in February 2020. This led to the rampant dissemination of misinformation and rumors about the disease among the public.Objectives: To investigate the scale of public misinformation about COVID-19 in Basrah, Iraq. Methods: A cross-sectional study based on a 22-item questionnaire to assess public knowledge and understanding of information related to the COVID-19 infection. Results: A total of 483 individuals completed the questionnaire. The most frequent age group was 26–35 years (28.2%); there were 280 (58%) males and 203 (42%) females. Of the participants, 282 (58.4%) were with an education level below the Bachelor’s degree, 342 (70.8%) were married, and 311 (64%) were living in districts in Basra other than the central district. Overall, 50.8% (11.8/ 22 * 100%) of individuals had the correct information regarding COVID-19. There was a significant association between the level of COVID-19 related misinformation and participants’ educational levels and occupation (p <0.05). However, there was no significant difference found across sex, age group, marital state, and area of residence.Conclusions: Misinformation related to COVID-19 is widely spread and has to be addressed in order to control the pandemic.