Public knowledge, attitude and behavioural changes in an Indian population during the Influenza A (H1N1) outbreak
Background: Influenza A (H1N1) is the most recent of the pandemic diseases that has affected the world's population. The aim of this study was to assess knowledge, attitude and behavioural responses of an Indian community toward Influenza A (H1N1).
Methodology: A cross-sectional questionnaire survey was conducted in Udaipur (Rajasthan, India) among 791 individuals (57% males and 43% females) from 23 July to 27 August 2009. Outcome measures were perceived seriousness of the disease, opinion about government and health authorities, perceived efficacy of various preventive measures, avoidance behaviours, and increased hygiene maintenance in relation to Influenza A (H1N1).
Results: Of 791 respondents, 83.1% had heard about Influenza A (H1N1), but 47.4% felt that they did not have enough information about the pandemic. Only 34.5% felt that their health would be seriously affected if they contracted Influenza A (H1N1). Over half of the respondents (59.6%) had no idea about the duration of the pandemic. Knowledge differed significantly according to gender, age groups, and educational status as well as working status; however, females had better attitude than males. Respondents rated face masks and vaccines as the most effective preventive measures.
Conclusion: Results showed that in spite of having acceptable knowledge and attitude, behavioural response to Influenza A (H1N1) was poor. Therefore, increased efforts should be made by the government to understand what factors are associated with adaptive behaviour changes among the general public. Emphasizing the efficacy of recommended actions and the possible duration of the outbreak may further help to improve public compliance.
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