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Public Health Aspects, Networking and Training

European Content for Public Health Awareness of Rural Population on Avian Influenza Prevention

EC contribution
: € 199 956
: 18 months
Starting date
: 01/04/2007
: Public Health Programme
: Avian flu, awareness campaigns, rural population
Project Number
: 800123
: -


The population living in the rural areas of Europe is crucial to the potential transformation of avian influenza into a deadly pandemic influenza. This project aims to provide practical information and guidelines on preventing and managing these potential threats, aiming specifically at the rural population, where a gap of information can be observed.

The project will take into account the special needs of the rural population and its different characteristics across three European regions which are representative of central-north, south, and eastern Europe. Up-to-date scientific knowledge will be evaluated and criteria will be defined to integrate or customise the available material of public health campaigns, so that this can be disseminated in a feasible and effective way to the population. The channels and networks used for the dissemination of the public health material will also be assessed, reviewing existing efforts targeting the rural population. Following this review, the most effective communication strategies and information material will be identified and proposed as a best practice model.


In the past decade outbreaks of avian influenza infection among poultry have been reported worldwide and have in some cases also led to sporadic cases in humans. In Europe a 2003 outbreak in The Netherlands affected more than 80 people. Avian influenza infection in humans can be severe and life-threatening. Highly pathogenic avian influenza is a threat to public health because it may evolve into an efficient and dangerous human pathogen. WHO has expressed concern that the avian influenza virus may re-assort its genes with those from a human influenza virus, thereby acquiring the ability to move easily from human to human and thus triggering a pandemic.

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