Chinese poultry farmers' decision-making for avian influenza prevention: a qualitative analysis.
Poultry farmers faced dual risk when mutant avian influenza (AI) virus showed the zoonotic characteristics. A/H5N1 and A/H7N9 were two dominant AI virus strains that have captured the attention of the public over the years for they have been reported to bring about greater loss to poultry and human, respectively. Previous studies mainly used quantitative methods investigating either the means that poultry farmers adopted for protecting their poultry against A/H5N1 infection or the poultry farmers' self-protective behaviours against A/H7N9 infection. We sought insights into the underlying factors influencing Chinese poultry farmers' protective behaviours in response to the dual risk of AI by a qualitative way. Semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted with 25 Chinese chicken farmers recruited by purposive sampling between November 2016 and May 2017, the peak season of AI. All interviews were audio-taped, transcribed and analysed using a grounded theory approach. From participants' experiences, we revealed five main themes: Measures adopted for protecting poultry and farmers, Emotional response to the AI epidemic, Perceived risk of AI, Perceived effectiveness of the preventive measures adopted and Perceived self-efficacy to take preventive measures. The information of AI outbreak directly triggered Chinese chicken farmers' emotional response and thereafter preventive actions. Compared to the perceived risk of poultry infection with A/H5N1 which mainly connected to economic loss, participants perceived much lower risk of human infection with A/H7N9. AI epidemic information played a key role triggering poultry farmers' response behaviours. Chinese poultry farmers weighted more attention on the risk of poultry infection which was highly associated with economic losses. The government should build and improve an early AI warning and information transmission network to poultry farmers. Further reinforcement of related self-protective and preventive knowledge training towards poultry farmers is necessary.