The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
EYYC and CKYC participated in planning the study, data collection, and interpreting the results. EYYC, PYL, GT and ZH participated in data collection, interpreting the results and final paper writing. EYYC obtained research funding. EYYC and CKYC wrote the first draft of the article. All authors were involved in planning the article, critical review and editing of the first draft, and subsequent revisions to the paper. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
Since SARS epidemic in 2003, Hong Kong has experienced several major epidemic risks, but how general community might react to the repeated infectious diseases health risks have not been studied. In 2013, imported human H7N9 influenza infected cases from China were reported. Our study aims to assess the knowledge, attitude and practice (KAP) concerning A/H7N9 among Hong Kong general population regarding pandemic preparedness in early 2014.
A cross-sectional, population-based telephone survey study was conducted among the Cantonese-speaking population aged over 15 years in Hong Kong in February 2014. The study survey was composed of 78 KAP questions. Factors associated with individual and household pandemic preparedness were analyzed.
Final study sample was 1,020 with a response rate of 45.9 %. Among the respondents, most of them believed personal hygiene and avoidance of avian contacts were effective in preventing H7N9 infections. The majority of respondents had satisfactory hand hygiene practices and avoided touching avian species but did not employ other preventive measures. Female, 25 years old or older, white collar workers, people with chronic diseases and people living in the city center tended to report better hygiene practices. The average State-Trait Anxiety Inventory score was 1.85, similar to that of the period during the first wave and at the start of the second wave of the H7N9 epidemic. Self-reported face masks wearing when having influenza-like illness in general population dropped from 92.4 % during H5N1 period in 2007 to 39.0 % in this study.
Hong Kong citizens show a low level of anxiety, misconceptions regarding the novel strains as well as gaps between perceived usefulness and practice of preventive measures towards influenza outbreaks. Educational campaigns and framing the issue to increase public and media awareness are crucial in preventing the current public fatigue towards outbreaks.