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Surveillance of perceptions, knowledge, attitudes and behaviors of the Italian adult population (18-69 years) during the 2009-2010 A/H1N1 influenza pandemic

Gianluigi Ferrante, Sandro Baldissera, Pirous Fateh Moghadam, Giuliano Carrozzi, Massimo Oddone Trinito and Stefania Salmaso
European Journal of Epidemiology
Vol. 26, No. 3 (2011), pp. 211-219
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41474231
Page Count: 9
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Surveillance of perceptions, knowledge, attitudes and behaviors of the Italian adult population (18-69 years) during the 2009-2010 A/H1N1 influenza pandemic
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Abstract

Monitoring perceptions, knowledge, attitudes and behaviors of populations during pandemic flu outbreaks is important as it allows communication strategies to be adjusted to meet emerging needs and assessment to be made of the effects of recommendations for prevention. The ongoing Italian Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (PASSI) offered the setting for investigating people's opinions and behaviors regarding the A/H1N1 pandemic. PASSI surveillance is carried out in 126/148 Italian Local Health Units (LHU) through monthly telephone interviews administered by public health staff to a random sample of the resident population 18-69 years. In fall 2009 additional questions exploring issues related to the A/H1N1 flu were added to the standard questionnaire. The pandemic module was administered on a voluntary basis by the 70 participating LHUs from November 2nd, 2009 to February 7th, 2010; 4 047 interviews were collected. Overall 33% of respondents considered it likely that they would catch flu, 26% stated they were worried, 16% reported having limited some daily activities out of home and 22% said they would accept vaccination if offered. All these indicators showed a decreasing trend across the four-month period of observation. The most trusted sources of information were family doctors (81%). Willingness to be vaccinated was associated with worry about pandemic, age, sex, having a chronic disease and timing of the interview. The surveillance allowed us to gather relevant information, crucial for devising appropriate public health interventions. In future disease outbreaks, systems monitoring people's perceptions and behaviors should be included in the preparedness and response plans.

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