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Open Access Research article

Attitudes, practices and information needs regarding novel influenza A (H7N9) among employees of food production and operation in Guangzhou, Southern China: a cross-sectional study

Tiegang Li1, Jing Feng1, Pengzhe Qing1, Xiaomei Fan2, Weisi Liu1, MeiXia Li1 and Ming Wang1*

Author Affiliations

1 Guangzhou Center for Disease Control and Prevention, No 1, Qide Rd, Jiahe, Baiyun District, Guangzhou, Guangdong Province 510440, China

2 Basic Medical College, Inner Mongolia Medical University, Hohhot 010059, China

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2014, 14:4  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-14-4

Published: 2 January 2014

Abstract

Background

As of 30 May 2013, 132 human infections with avian influenza A (H7N9) had been reported in 10 Chinese cities. On 17 May 2013, because a chicken infection with H7 subtype avian influenza virus was detected in Guanzhou, Guangzhou became the 11th city to conduct emergency response operations. The goal of this study was to identify attitudes, practices and information needs among employees of food production and operation in Guangzhou.

Methods

A cross-sectional survey of face-to-face interviews was used during 17–24 June 2013. All adults seeking health examination in Guangzhou Center for Disease Control and Prevention who had lived in Guangzhou for at least 3 months, were engaged in food production and operation, and agreed to participate were interviewed.

Results

Of 1,450 participants, 69.72% worried about being infected with the A/H7N9 and 74.41% stated that they had searched for information about A/H7N9. The internet (76.92%), television (67.56%), and newspapers (56.26%) were the main methods of obtaining information; the use of these methods differed significantly by various demographic variables (P < 0.05). More than one-fifth of participants complained that the information was not timely enough (20.28%) and was intentionally concealed by the government (20.76%). Nearly one-third (32.35%) did not believe that the government could control the A/H7N9 epidemic. Most participants (80.76%) reported washing hands more frequently than before, while over one-third (37.17%) stated no longer buying poultry. A total of 84.00% indicated a willingness to receive an A/H7N9 vaccine, and the primary reason for not being willing was concern about safety (58.19%). A history of influenza vaccination and worry about being infected with the A/H7N9 were significantly associated with intention to receive an A/H7N9 vaccine (P < 0.05).

Conclusions

Our findings provide insight into the attitudes and practices of employees of food production and operation 3 months after the first human A/H7N9 case reported in China, and 1 month after infected chickens were identified in Guangzhou. Distrust in the health department should be addressed, and more effort should be made to improve compliance of proper preventive measures to reduce panic among the public. The information needs should be taken into account in the next step of health education.

Keywords:
Attitudes; Health education; Influenza A (H7N9); Information needs; Practices