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BACKGROUND: Early initiation of treatment is essential for treatment of avian influenza A/H5N1 viral infection in humans, as the disease can lead to rapid development of severe pneumonia which can result in death. Contact with infected poultry is known to be a significant risk factor for contraction of H5N1 infection. However, handling and encountering poultry are a part of most peoples' daily lives, especially in rural communities in Vietnam where epidemic outbreaks among poultry have been continuously reported. Enhancing proper knowledge relating to H5N1 and to the importance of early initiation of treatment are crucial. The aim of this study was to develop an effective educational program to enhance awareness of H5N1 and motivate people to access to health care earlier when H5N1 infection is suspected or likely. METHODOLOGY AND PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: A study was conducted in two agricultural communities (intervention and control groups) in the Ninh Binh province in Vietnam, where epidemic outbreaks of avian influenza have recently occurred in birds. A unique educational intervention was developed and provided to the intervention group, and no intervention was provided to the control group. A knowledge, attitude and practice (KAP) survey was conducted in both groups with a face-to-face interview by trained local healthcare workers at time points before and after the educational intervention. KAP scores were compared between the different time points and between the groups. How educational intervention influenced awareness relating to H5N1 and accessibility of healthcare in the population was analyzed. The study indicated an increased awareness of H5N1 and increased reliance on local health care workers. CONCLUSIONS: The novel educational program which was developed for this study impacted awareness of H5N1, and resulted in more people seeking early access to healthcare, and also resulted in earlier medical intervention for patients with H5N1 avian influenza infection in Vietnam.

Original publication

DOI

10.1371/journal.pone.0023711

Type

Journal article

Journal

PLoS One

Publication Date

2011

Volume

6

Keywords

Animals, Awareness, Birds, Health Education, Humans, Influenza A Virus, H5N1 Subtype, Influenza in Birds, Influenza, Human, Risk, Risk Reduction Behavior, Rural Population, Vietnam