Perceptions of vulnerability to a future outbreak: A study of horse managers affected by the first Australian equine influenza outbreak
- Year: 2013
- Author: Schemann, Kathrin; Firestone, Simon M; Taylor, Melanie R; Toribio, Jenny-Ann LML; Ward, Michael P; Dhand, Navneet K
- Journal Name: BMC Veterinary Research
- Journal Number: 9
- Publisher: BioMed Central Ltd.
- Published Location: London, United Kingdom
- ISBN: 1746-6148
- Country: Australia
A growing body of work shows the benefits of applying social cognitive behavioural theory to investigate infection control and biosecurity practices. Protection motivation theory has been used to predict protective health behaviours. The theory outlines that a perception of a lack of vulnerability to a disease contributes to a reduced threat appraisal, which results in poorer motivation, and is linked to poorer compliance with advised health protective behaviours. This study, conducted following the first-ever outbreak of equine influenza in Australia in 2007, identified factors associated with horse managers' perceived vulnerability to a future equine influenza outbreak.
Different groups across the horse industry perceived differing levels of vulnerability to a future outbreak. Increased vulnerability contributes to favourable infection control behaviour and hence these findings are important for understanding uptake of recommended infection control measures. Future biosecurity communication strategies should be delivered through information sources suitable for the horse racing and rural sectors.