Objective: In March 2006, 298,000 cases of birds infected with bird flu were destroyed in nine rural settlements in Israel, out of around 1.2 million birds that were destroyed within these settlements and in a radius of 3 km. The nationwide population was instructed to take preventive measures against the spread of infection. This study aims to compare the emotions, interest, sense of knowledge and compliance, of the population in the affected area with the nationwide general population, during the first phase of a bird flu outbreak in Israel. Methods: We conducted a telephone survey among two randomly selected, representative samples of adults. One sample involved 500 adult residents of the nationwide area; and the other sample involved 103 adult residents of the affected area during the first phase of the outbreak. We measured perceived emotions, interest, sense of knowledge and compliance. We analyzed the differences in these parameters between the affected area and the nationwide population using chi-square and t-test analysis. A p value of less than 0.05 was considered to be statistically significant. Results: The compliance for using measures of precaution was high and not significantly different between the affected area and the nationwide population. The interest in bird flue and the sense of knowledge were significantly higher in the affected area compared to the nationwide population (p < 0.05). A misconception of a high human to human transmission was significantly higher in the nationwide population compared with the affected area (p < 0.05). The levels of stress and fear perception were significantly lower in the affected area compared to the nationwide population (p < 0.05). Conclusion: Interest, sense of knowledge and emotions of the population are different in the affected area during the early phase of bird flu outbreak compared with the general population in the same country. Authorities must consider these differences while planning the strategy of population education during the early phase of a bird flu outbreak.
- Affected area
- Avian influenza outbreak