Avian influenza (H5N1) (AI) is becoming a serious public health threat in Egypt. The current study aimed to assess the existing knowledge, attitudes, and various practices regarding AI in household backyard poultry breeders residing in Fayoum Governorate, in rural Egypt.Material and methods
Of the 149 cases confirmed to date in Egypt, 51 have been fatal. This study was implemented in El Gendy and Manshat Abdllah villages in Fayoum Governorate. The latter village is the one in which a case of AI was confirmed in February 2007. A group of 150 women aged 15 years and above were recruited. A structured Arabic questionnaire was used to collect data.Results
All interviewed women (N=150) had heard about AI. TV\radio was the common source of information (83.3%). Nearly all interviewed women knew that AI is transmitted from birds to humans (99%). Most of the participants (>90%) correctly identified saliva, nasal secretions, feces, and contaminated vehicles as the modes of AI transmission. The knowledge regarding biosecurity measures (>70%) and measures of prevention (>90%) was generally good. More than 90% of the interviewed housewives agreed that AI is a serious disease that can be prevented, and that sanitary precautions during breeding and food preparation practices are effective measures for prevention of AI infection. Protective measures such as the use of gloves and masks, which minimize the risk of transmission of AI from poultry to humans, were seldom used by housewives in all their breeding, slaughtering, and cooking practices. However, washing hands either with water or with soap and water was reported by the vast majority of the respondents (>90%).Conclusion and recommendation
There was a good level of knowledge and favorable attitude of the study participants regarding AI; however, practices appear to be inadequate to achieve full protection against AI. Comprehensive and multidisciplinary interventions should be widely used to enhance the complex behavior change process among the village residents.