Use of Personal Protective Measures by Thai Households in Areas with Avian Influenza Outbreaks


R. Somrongthong, College of Public Health Sciences, Chulalongkorn University, Institute Building 3, Soi Chula 62, Phyathai Road, Bangkok 10330, Thailand. Tel.: 662 2188226; Fax: 662 2556046; E-mail:


Thailand has had multiple poultry outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 since its first emergence in 2004. Twenty-five human cases of HPAI H5N1 avian influenza have been reported in the country, including 17 fatalities, and contact with infected dead or dying poultry has been identified as a risk factor for human infection. This study assessed the use of protective equipment and hand hygiene measures by Thai poultry-owning households during activities involving poultry contact. Surveys conducted in 2008 included questions regarding poultry-related activities and protective measures used during an HPAI outbreak (2005) and 3 years after the study location’s last reported outbreak (2008). For both time periods, poultry owners reported limited use of personal protective equipment (PPE) during all activities and inconsistent hand washing practices after carrying poultry and gathering eggs. This is the first time that PPE use in Thailand has been quantified for a large study group. These data are important for ongoing characterization of HPAI risk and for the crafting of educational messages.