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Open Access Research article

Knowledge, attitudes and practices towards pandemic influenza among cases, close contacts, and healthcare workers in tropical Singapore: a cross-sectional survey

Jonathan Yap1, Vernon J Lee1234, Teng Yan Yau5, Tze Pin Ng6 and Phern-Chern Tor56*

Author Affiliations

1 Biodefence Centre, Ministry of Defence, Singapore

2 Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, National University of Singapore, Singapore

3 Centre for Health Services Research, National University of Singapore, Singapore

4 National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, Australian National University, Australia

5 Healthcare Branch, Ministry of Defence, Singapore

6 Department of Psychological Medicine, National University Hospital, Singapore

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BMC Public Health 2010, 10:442  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-10-442

Published: 28 July 2010



Effective influenza pandemic management requires understanding of the factors influencing behavioral changes. We aim to determine the differences in knowledge, attitudes and practices in various different cohorts and explore the pertinent factors that influenced behavior in tropical Singapore.


We performed a cross-sectional knowledge, attitudes and practices survey in the Singapore military from mid-August to early-October 2009, among 3054 personnel in four exposure groups - laboratory-confirmed H1N1-2009 cases, close contacts of cases, healthcare workers, and general personnel.


1063 (34.8%) participants responded. The mean age was 21.4 (SE 0.2) years old. Close contacts had the highest knowledge score (71.7%, p = 0.004) while cases had the highest practice scores (58.8%, p < 0.001). There was a strong correlation between knowledge and practice scores (r = 0.27, p < 0.01) and knowledge and attitudes scores (r = 0.21, p < 0.01). The significant predictors of higher practice scores were higher knowledge scores (p < 0.001), Malay ethnicity (p < 0.001), exposure group (p < 0.05) and lower education level (p < 0.05). The significant predictors for higher attitudes scores were Malay ethnicity (p = 0.014) and higher knowledge scores (p < 0.001). The significant predictor for higher knowledge score was being a contact (p = 0.007).


Knowledge is a significant influence on attitudes and practices in a pandemic, and personal experience influences practice behaviors. Efforts should be targeted at educating the general population to improve practices in the current pandemic, as well as for future epidemics.