|Preparedness Centerís collaborative research on H1N1 published in MMWR|
A report published in the Dec. 25, 2009 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report sheds light on North Carolinians' intentions last fall to receive the influenza A (H1N1) vaccine. Led by Jennifer Horney, PhD, and other researchers at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health's N.C. Center for Public Health Preparedness, the research was a collaborative effort of the preparedness center, the N.C. Division of Public Health and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
The preparedness center is part of the School's N.C. Institute for Public Health.
The assessment was planned in response to the likelihood that H1N1 flu would have a significant impact during the 2009-2010 season. Researchers wanted to know whether people in N.C. communities had been informed about the vaccine's availability, how they had learned about the vaccine, and whether they intended to take it.
Staff from the preparedness center and its Team Epi-Aid student volunteer group surveyed 207 residents of Orange and Alamance (N.C.) counties. The N.C. Division of Public Health and the counties' health departments also participated.
The survey found:
Because more than four-fifths of people surveyed in the N.C. counties learned about the virus and the vaccine from television, the MMWR article affirms the need for public health agencies to work closely with those media outlets most commonly used by the public.
"This study demonstrates how rapid assessment methods can be applied in a new way to an emerging infectious disease such as H1N1," researcher Horney said. "Through academic-practice partnership, we were able to quickly gather information to meet the needs of decision makers in public health practice at the local, state and federal levels."
The N.C. Department of Public Health estimates that more than a million North Carolinians have been infected with H1N1 flu thus far in the 2009-2010 influenza season. Since April 2009, 81 flu deaths have been reported and more than 544 people were hospitalized with influenza-like illnesses between Dec. 27, 2009 and Jan. 2, 2010.
|Last updated January 19, 2010|