Background: Ethnic minorities in Europe such as the Chinese may need a special strategy with regard to risk communication about emerging infectious diseases. To engage them in precautionary actions, it is important to know their information sources, knowledge, and health beliefs.
Purpose: This study's purpose is to study the use of information sources, knowledge, and health beliefs related to SARS and avian flu of Chinese people in the UK and The Netherlands, and to make comparisons with the general population in these countries.
Method: Results of a self-administered questionnaire among 300 British/Dutch Chinese were compared to data obtained from a computer-assisted phone survey among the general population (n = 800).
Results: British/Dutch Chinese got most information about emerging diseases from family and friends, followed by Chinese media and British/Dutch TV. They had less confidence than general groups in their doctor, government agencies, and consumer/patient interest groups. Their knowledge of SARS was high. They had a lower perceived threat than general populations with regard to SARS and avian flu due to a lower perceived severity. They had higher self-efficacy beliefs regarding SARS and avian flu.
Conclusion: In case of new outbreaks of SARS/avian flu in China, local authorities in the UK and The Netherlands can best reach Chinese people through informal networks and British/Dutch TV, while trying to improve confidence in information from the government. In communications, the severity of the disease rather than the susceptibility appears to need most attention.