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1 in 6 health workers won't report in flu pandemic -- study by Ben-Gurion U. researchers
Date:7/28/2009

BEER-SHEVA, ISRAEL -- July 28, 2009 A study conducted by researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) and John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health indicates that approximately 16 percent of public health care workers will not report for work in a pandemic flu emergency, regardless of the severity.

The study,just published in the peer-reviewed online journal PLOS ONE, as conducted among 1,835 public health workers in Minnesota, Ohio and West Virginia from November 2006 to December 2007.

"We found belief in the importance of one's work was strongly associated with a willingness to report to work in an emergency," said co-author Ran Balicer, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., senior lecturer in the Department of Epidemiology at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel, and joint editor of the Israeli Ministry of Health Pandemic Preparedness Plan. "Our results could help preparedness planners identify workforce needs and develop strategies for improving worker response."

According to the survey, public health workers who were both "concerned" about the threat posed by a pandemic, and who were "confident" that they could fulfill their response roles and have a meaningful impact on the situation, were 31 times more likely to respond to work in an emergency than those who perceived the threat low and had low levels of confidence. Workers whose perception of the threat was "low" but who strongly believed in the importance of their job were 18 times more likely to say they "would respond" compared to those in the "low threat/low efficacy" group.

The survey analysis was based on Witte's Extended Parallel Process Model (EPPM), used for understanding adaptive behavior in the face of unknown risk. It examines the relative influences of perceived threat and efficacy on public health workers' response willingness to pandemic influenza.

Willingness of health responders to report to duty during an influenza pandemi
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Contact: Andrew Lavin
andrewlavin@alavin.com
212-290-9540
American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
Source:Eurekalert

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