Influenza pandemic: Perception of risk and individual precautions in a general population. Cross sectional study

Kristiansen, Ivar S., Halvorsen, Peder A. and Gyrd-Hansen, Dorte (2007) Influenza pandemic: Perception of risk and individual precautions in a general population. Cross sectional study. BMC Public Health, 7 48-1-48-7. doi:10.1186/1471-2458-7-48


Author Kristiansen, Ivar S.
Halvorsen, Peder A.
Gyrd-Hansen, Dorte
Title Influenza pandemic: Perception of risk and individual precautions in a general population. Cross sectional study
Journal name BMC Public Health   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1471-2458
Publication date 2007-04
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1186/1471-2458-7-48
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 7
Start page 48-1
End page 48-7
Total pages 7
Place of publication London, U.K.
Publisher BioMed Central
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Background: An influenza pandemic may have considerable impact on health and societal functioning. The aim of this study was to explore people's reflections on the consequences of a pandemic.

Methods: Cross-sectional web-based survey of 1,168 Norwegians aged 16–82 years. The main outcome measures were answers to questions about a potential pandemic ("serious influenza epidemic"): statements about personal precautions including stockpiling Tamiflu®, the perceived number of fatalities, the perceived effects of Tamiflu®, the sources of information about influenza and trust in public information.

Results:
While 80% of the respondents stated that they would be "careful about personal hygiene", only a few would stay away from work (2%), or move to an isolated place (4%). While 27% of respondents were uncertain about the number of fatalities during an influenza pandemic, 48% thought it would be lower than the estimate of Norwegian health authorities (0.05%–1%) and only 3% higher. At least half of the respondents thought that Tamiflu® might reduce the mortality risk, but less than 1% had personally purchased the drug. The great majority had received their information from the mass media, and only 9% directly from health authorities. Still the majority (65%) trusted information from the authorities, and only 9% reported overt distrust.

Conclusion:
In Norway, considerable proportions of people seem to consider the mortality risk during a pandemic less than health authorities do. Most people seem to be prepared to take some, but not especially disruptive, precautions.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ
Additional Notes Article number 48

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
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