An Exploration of How Perceptions of the Risk of Avian Influenza in Poultry Relate to Urbanization in Vietnam

Published in: EcoHealth, 2014

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2014

by Melissa L. Finucane, Tuyen Nghiem, Sumeet Saksena, Lam Nguyen, Jefferson Fox, James H. Spencer, Trinh Dinh Thau

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This research examined how perceptions of outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) subtype H5N1 in poultry are related to urbanization. Via in-depth interviews with village leaders, household farmers, and large farm operators in modern, transitional, and traditional communes in the north of Vietnam, we explored behaviors, attitudes, cultural values, and traditions that might amplify or attenuate HPAI outbreaks. We also explored conceptualizations of urbanization and its impacts on animal husbandry and disease outbreaks. Qualitative theme analyses identified the key impacts, factors related to HPAI outbreaks, and disease prevention and management strategies. The analyses also highlighted how urbanization improves some aspects of life (e.g., food security, family wealth and health, more employment opportunities, and improved infrastructure), but simultaneously poses significant challenges for poultry farming and disease management. Awareness of qualitative aspects of HPAI risk perceptions and behaviors and how they vary with urbanization processes may help to improve the prevention and management of emerging infectious diseases.

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