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PLoS By Category | Recent PLoS Articles
Infectious Diseases - Public Health and Epidemiology - Respiratory Medicine

Knowledge, Attitudes, Practices and Emotional Reactions among Residents of Avian Influenza (H5N1) Hit Communities in Vietnam
Published: Friday, October 19, 2012
Author: Toshie Manabe et al.

by Toshie Manabe, Tran Thuy Hanh, Doan Manh Lam, Do Thi Hong Van, Pham Thi Phuong Thuy, Dinh Thi Thanh Huyen, Tran Thi Mai Phuong, Dang Hung Minh, Jin Takasaki, Ngo Quy Chau, Ly Quoc Toan, Koichiro Kudo

Background

Awareness of individuals’ knowledge and predicting their behavior and emotional reactions is crucial when evaluating clinical preparedness for influenza pandemics with a highly pathogenic virus. Knowledge, attitude, and practice (KAP) relating to avian influenza (H5N1) virus infection among residents in communities where H5N1 patients occurred in Vietnam has not been reported.

Methods and Principal Findings

Face-to-face interviews including KAP survey were conducted in Bac Kan province, located in the northeast mountainous region of Vietnam. Participants were residents who lived in a community where H5N1 cases have ever been reported (event group, n?=?322) or one where cases have not been reported (non-event group, n?=?221). Data on emotional reactions of participants and healthcare-seeking behavior after the event in neighboring areas were collected as well as information on demographics and environmental measures, information sources, and KAP regarding H5N1. These data were compared between two groups. Higher environmental risk of H5N1 and improper poultry-handling behaviors were identified in the event group. At the time of the event, over 50% of the event group sought healthcare for flu-like symptoms or because they were scared. Awareness of the event influenced KAP scores. Healthcare-seeking behavior and attention to H5N1 poultry outbreaks diminished in the event group as time passed after the outbreak compared with the non-event group. Factors that motivated participants to seek healthcare sooner were knowledge of early access to healthcare and the risk of eating sick/dead poultry, and perception of the threat of H5N1.

Conclusions

Awareness of H5N1 patients in neighboring areas can provoke panic in residents and influence their healthcare-seeking behavior. Periodic education to share experiences on the occurrence of H5N1 patients and provide accurate information may help prevent panic and infection and reduce mortality. Local conditions should be taken into account when emphasizing the need for early access to healthcare.

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