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1.  Knowledge, attitudes and practices relating to influenza A(H7N9) risk among live poultry traders in Guangzhou City, China 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2014;14(1):554.
Background
Live poultry traders (LPTs) have greater risk to avian influenza due to occupational exposure to poultry. This study investigated knowledge, attitudes and practices of LPTs relating to influenza A (H7N9).
Methods
Using multi-stage cluster sampling, 306 LPTs were interviewed in Guangzhou by a standardized questionnaire between mid-May to June, 2013. Hierarchical logistic regression models were used to identify factors associated with preventive practices and attitudes towards various control measures implemented in live poultry markets against H7N9.
Results
Only 46.1% of the respondents recognized risks associated with contacts with bird secretions or droppings, and only 22.9% perceived personally “likely/very likely” to contract H7N9 infection. Around 60% of the respondents complied with hand-washing and wearing gloves, and only 20% reported wearing face masks. Only 16.3% of the respondents agreed on introducing central slaughtering of poultry. Being younger, involving in slaughtering poultry, having longer working hours, less access to H7N9-related information and poorer knowledge, and perceiving lower personal susceptibility to H7N9 infection were negatively associated with preventive practices. Comparing with previous studies conducted when human cases of H5N1 avian influenza infection was first identified in Guangdong, LPTs’ perceived susceptibility to novel influenza viruses increased significantly but acceptance for central slaughtering of poultry remained low.
Conclusions
Information on avian influenza provided through multiple communication tools may be necessary to promote knowledge among poultry traders. Familiarity with risk may have led to the lower perceived vulnerability to avian influenza and less protective actions among the LPTs particularly for those involving more risky exposure to live poultry. Reasons for the consistently low acceptance for central slaughtering of poultry await further exploration.
doi:10.1186/s12879-014-0554-8
PMCID: PMC4210513  PMID: 25324011
Live poultry trader; Avian influenza; Attitudes; Knowledge
2.  School closures during the 2009 influenza pandemic: national and local experiences 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2014;14:207.
Background
School closure is a non-pharmaceutical intervention that was considered in many national pandemic plans developed prior to the start of the influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 pandemic, and received considerable attention during the event. Here, we retrospectively review and compare national and local experiences with school closures in several countries during the A(H1N1)pdm09 pandemic. Our intention is not to make a systematic review of country experiences; rather, it is to present the diversity of school closure experiences and provide examples from national and local perspectives.
Methods
Data were gathered during and following a meeting, organized by the European Centres for Disease Control, on school closures held in October 2010 in Stockholm, Sweden. A standard data collection form was developed and sent to all participants. The twelve participating countries and administrative regions (Bulgaria, China, France, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR), Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Serbia, South Africa, Thailand, United Kingdom, and United States) provided data.
Results
Our review highlights the very diverse national and local experiences on school closures during the A(H1N1)pdm09 pandemic. The processes including who was in charge of making recommendations and who was in charge of making the decision to close, the school-based control strategies, the extent of school closures, the public health tradition of responses and expectations on school closure varied greatly between countries. Our review also discusses the many challenges associated with the implementation of this intervention and makes recommendations for further practical work in this area.
Conclusions
The single most important factor to explain differences observed between countries may have been the different public health practises and public expectations concerning school closures and influenza in the selected countries.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-14-207
PMCID: PMC4021091  PMID: 24739814
3.  Anxiety, worry and cognitive risk estimate in relation to protective behaviors during the 2009 influenza A/H1N1 pandemic in Hong Kong: ten cross-sectional surveys 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2014;14:169.
Background
Few studies have investigated associations between psychological and behavioral indices throughout a major epidemic. This study was aimed to compare the strength of associations between different cognitive and affective measures of risk and self-reported protective behaviors in a series of ten cross-sectional surveys conducted throughout the first wave of influenza A/H1N1 pandemic.
Methods
All surveys were conducted using questionnaire-based telephone interviews, with random digit dialing to recruit adults from the general population. Measures of anxiety and worry (affective) and perceived risk (cognitive) regarding A/H1N1 were made in 10 serial surveys. Multivariate logistic regression models were used to estimate the cognitive/affective-behavioral associations in each survey while multilevel logistic models were conducted to estimate the average effects of each cognitive/affective measure on adoption of protective behaviors throughout the ten surveys.
Results
Excepting state anxiety, other affective measures including “anticipated worry”, “experienced worry” and “current worry” specific to A/H1N1 risk were consistently and strongly associated with adoption of protective behaviors across different survey periods. However, the cognitive-behavioral associations were weaker and inconsistent across the ten surveys. Perceived A/H1N1 severity relative to SARS had stronger associations with adoption of protective behaviors in the late epidemic periods than in the early epidemic periods.
Conclusion
Risk-specific worries appear to be significantly associated with the adoption of protective behaviors at different epidemic stages, whereas cognitive measures may become more important in understanding people’s behavioral responses later in epidemics. Future epidemic-related psycho-behavioral research should include more affective-loaded measures of risk.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-14-169
PMCID: PMC3986671  PMID: 24674239
Influenza pandemic; Affect; Perceived risk; Protective behavior; Chinese adults
4.  An analysis of national target groups for monovalent 2009 pandemic influenza vaccine and trivalent seasonal influenza vaccines in 2009-10 and 2010-11 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2011;11:230.
Background
Vaccination is generally considered to be the best primary prevention measure against influenza virus infection. Many countries encourage specific target groups of people to undertake vaccination, often with financial subsidies or a priority list. To understand differential patterns of national target groups for influenza vaccination before, during and after the 2009 influenza pandemic, we reviewed and analyzed the country-specific policies in the corresponding time periods.
Methods
Information on prioritized groups targeted to receive seasonal and pandemic influenza vaccines was derived from a multi-step internet search of official health department websites, press releases, media sources and academic journal articles. We assessed the frequency and consistency of targeting 20 different groups within populations which are associated with age, underlying medical conditions, role or occupations among different countries and vaccines. Information on subsidies provided to specific target groups was also extracted.
Results
We analyzed target groups for 33 (seasonal 2009 and 2009-10 vaccines), 72 (monovalent pandemic 2009-10 vaccine) and 34 (seasonal 2010 and 2010-11 vaccines) countries. In 2009-10, the elderly, those with chronic illness and health care workers were common targets for the seasonal vaccine. Comparatively, the elderly, care home residents and workers, animal contacts and close contacts were less frequently targeted to receive the pandemic vaccine. Pregnant women, obese persons, essential community workers and health care workers, however, were more commonly targeted. After the pandemic, pregnant women, obese persons, health care and care home workers, and close contacts were more commonly targeted to receive the seasonal vaccine compared to 2009-10, showing continued influence from the pandemic. Many of the countries provided free vaccines, partial subsidies, reimbursements or national health insurance coverage to specific target groups and over one-third of the countries offered universal subsidy regarding the pandemic vaccine. There was also some inconsistency between countries in target groups.
Conclusions
Differences in target groups between countries may reflect variable objectives as well as uncertainties regarding the transmission dynamics, severity and age-specific immunity against influenza viruses before and after vaccination. Clarification on these points is essential to elucidate optimal and object-oriented vaccination strategies.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-11-230
PMCID: PMC3175216  PMID: 21871096
influenza; pandemic; seasonal; vaccine; target groups; subsidy
5.  Oseltamivir for treatment and prevention of pandemic influenza A/H1N1 virus infection in households, Milwaukee, 2009 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2010;10:211.
Background
During an influenza pandemic, a substantial proportion of transmission is thought to occur in households. We used data on influenza progression in individuals and their contacts collected by the City of Milwaukee Health Department (MHD) to study the transmission of pandemic influenza A/H1N1 virus in 362 households in Milwaukee, WI, and the effects of oseltamivir treatment and chemoprophylaxis.
Methods
135 households had chronological information on symptoms and oseltamivir usage for all household members. The effect of oseltamivir treatment and other factors on the household secondary attack rate was estimated using univariate and multivariate logistic regression with households as the unit of analysis. The effect of oseltamivir treatment and other factors on the individual secondary attack rate was estimated using univariate and multivariate logistic regression with individual household contacts as the unit of analysis, and a generalized estimating equations approach was used to fit the model to allow for clustering within households.
Results
Oseltamivir index treatment on onset day or the following day (early treatment) was associated with a 42% reduction (OR: 0.58, 95% CI: 0.19, 1.73) in the odds of one or more secondary infections in a household and a 50% reduction (OR: 0.5, 95% CI: 0.17, 1.46) in the odds of a secondary infection in individual contacts. The confidence bounds are wide due to a small sample of households with early oseltamivir index usage - in 29 such households, 5 had a secondary attack. Younger household contacts were at higher risk of infection (OR: 2.79, 95% CI: 1.50-5.20).
Conclusions
Early oseltamivir treatment may be beneficial in preventing H1N1pdm influenza transmission; this may have relevance to future control measures for influenza pandemics. Larger randomized trials are needed to confirm this finding statistically.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-10-211
PMCID: PMC2919545  PMID: 20642862
6.  Entry screening to delay local transmission of 2009 pandemic influenza A (H1N1) 
Background
After the WHO issued the global alert for 2009 pandemic influenza A (H1N1), many national health agencies began to screen travelers on entry in airports, ports and border crossings to try to delay local transmission.
Methods
We reviewed entry screening policies adopted by different nations and ascertained dates of official report of the first laboratory-confirmed imported H1N1 case and the first laboratory-confirmed untraceable or 'local' H1N1 case.
Results
Implementation of entry screening policies was associated with on average additional 7-12 day delays in local transmission compared to nations that did not implement entry screening, with lower bounds of 95% confidence intervals consistent with no additional delays and upper bounds extending to 20-30 day additional delays.
Conclusions
Entry screening may lead to short-term delays in local transmission of a novel strain of influenza virus. The resources required for implementation should be balanced against the expected benefits of entry screening.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-10-82
PMCID: PMC3152767  PMID: 20353566
7.  A comparative epidemiologic analysis of SARS in Hong Kong, Beijing and Taiwan 
Background
The 2002-2003 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak infected 8,422 individuals leading to 916 deaths around the world. However, there have been few epidemiological studies of SARS comparing epidemiologic features across regions. The aim of this study is to identify similarities and differences in SARS epidemiology in three populations with similar host and viral genotype.
Methods
We present a comparative epidemiologic analysis of SARS, based on an integrated dataset with 3,336 SARS patients from Hong Kong, Beijing and Taiwan, epidemiological and clinical characteristics such as incubation, onset-to-admission, onset-to-discharge and onset-to-death periods, case fatality ratios (CFRs) and presenting symptoms are described and compared between regions. We further explored the influence of demographic and clinical variables on the apparently large differences in CFRs between the three regions.
Results
All three regions showed similar incubation periods and progressive shortening of the onset-to-admission interval through the epidemic. Adjusted for sex, health care worker status and nosocomial setting, older age was associated with a higher fatality, with adjusted odds ratio (AOR): 2.10 (95% confidence interval: 1.45, 3.04) for those aged 51-60; AOR: 4.57 (95% confidence interval: 3.32, 7.30) for those aged above 60 compared to those aged 41-50 years. Presence of pre-existing comorbid conditions was also associated with greater mortality (AOR: 1.74; 95% confidence interval: 1.36, 2.21).
Conclusion
The large discrepancy in crude fatality ratios across the three regions can only be partly explained by epidemiological and clinical heterogeneities. Our findings underline the importance of a common data collection platform, especially in an emerging epidemic, in order to identify and explain consistencies and differences in the eventual clinical and public health outcomes of infectious disease outbreaks, which is becoming increasingly important in our highly interconnected world.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-10-50
PMCID: PMC2846944  PMID: 20205928

Results 1-7 (7)