Professor and Head
Hong Kong University
To investigate human exposure to live poultry and changes in risk perception and behavior after the April 2013 influenza A(H7N9) outbreak in China, we surveyed 2,504 urban residents in 5 cities and 1,227 rural residents in 4 provinces and found that perceived risk for influenza A(H7N9) was low. The highest rate of exposure to live poultry was reported in Guangzhou, where 47% of those surveyed reported visiting a live poultry market > or =1 times in the previous year. Most (77%) urban respondents reported that they visited live markets less often after influenza A(H7N9) cases were first identified in China in March 2013, but only 30% supported permanent closure of the markets to control the epidemic. In rural areas, 48% of respondents reported that they raised backyard poultry. Exposure to live commercial and private poultry is common in urban and rural China and remains a potential risk factor for human infection with novel influenza viruses.