Background: Studies have revealed that visiting poultry markets and direct contact with sick or dead poultry are significant risk factors for H5N1 infection, the practices of which could possibly be influenced by people's knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAPs) associated with avian influenza (AI). To determine the KAPs associated with AI among the Chinese general population, a cross-sectional survey was conducted in China.
Methods: We used standardized, structured questionnaires distributed in both an urban area (Shenzhen, Guangdong Province; n = 1,826) and a rural area (Xiuning, Anhui Province; n = 2,572) using the probability proportional to size (PPS) sampling technique.
Results: Approximately three-quarters of participants in both groups requested more information about AI. The preferred source of information for both groups was television. Almost three-quarters of all participants were aware of AI as an infectious disease; the urban group was more aware that it could be transmitted through poultry, that it could be prevented, and was more familiar with the relationship between AI and human infection. The villagers in Xiuning were more concerned than Shenzhen residents about human AI viral infection. Regarding preventative measures, a higher percentage of the urban group used soap for hand washing whereas the rural group preferred water only. Almost half of the participants in both groups had continued to eat poultry after being informed about the disease.
Conclusions: Our study shows a high degree of awareness of human AI in both urban and rural populations, and could provide scientific support to assist the Chinese government in developing strategies and health-education campaigns to prevent AI infection among the general population.