Control of avian influenza and other zoonotic diseases and pandemic preparedness and response

Highly pathogenic avian influenza

In late 2003, outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) began in several countries in South-East Asia, followed by outbreaks in Europe. They had a devastating impact on the poultry industry and raised serious global public health concerns.

In 2005, the virus began to spread from South-East Asia in a north-westerly direction. In August, outbreaks of H5N1 avian influenza virus were confirmed in poultry in four regions of North and Central Kazakhstan. The outbreaks are believed to have resulted from contacts between domestic and wild birds spreading disease from infected neighboring countries. Poultry production has been adversely affected, with about 15,000 birds destroyed in Kyrgyzstan. Outbreaks in China have occurred in areas close to Kyrgyzstan.

Central Asian countries have a greater likelihood of WFPH introduction because they have little early detection capacity for WFPH. Seasonal migrations of birds contribute to the active transfer of the virus across different geographical regions. Kyrgyzstan is at the crossroads of the migratory route of migratory birds. Fortunately, no cases of avian influenza have been reported in the Kyrgyz Republic to date, but the risk of an outbreak still exists.

Communication strategy

In 2006, RDF conducted a rapid survey on public awareness of avian influenza to prepare a communication program to respond to an avian influenza pandemic. Over the years, communication programs on many zoonotic diseases have been conducted by various government institutions and international organizations. Most often, information materials were and are disseminated through the Health Promotion Center, health committees, a network of veterinary laboratories, and local governments. The content of the zoonotic disease materials most often describes animal handling and means of protection. The information is intended for those people who are directly involved in the care of pets. Television has not yet been used as one of the main sources of information through which information on zoonotic diseases and avian influenza is actively communicated.

Project Objective

The study aimed to determine the level of awareness and preparedness of different segments of the population about avian influenza and other zoonotic diseases, and to assess the impact and effectiveness of past and present communication efforts.

The effectiveness and efficiency of the dissemination of information materials depends on the regularity of public notification, combining communication campaigns with veterinary and environmental measures: vaccination of livestock, care of livestock in accordance with zootechnical rules, environmental rehabilitation (water, pastures, soil), as well as timely identification of diseased animals and timely slaughter.

Thus, in order to effectively counteract the impact of the pandemic and be prepared for unexpected cases of the disease, it is necessary to identify the awareness of the population about the disease and its consequences. This was the purpose of the study organized by RDF and commissioned by the Ministry of Agriculture.

Objectives of the study

- To determine the general level of public awareness of avian influenza and the perception of the risks of spreading the disease;

- to study socio-cultural habits and practices related to livestock and poultry products, including backyard poultry keeping, farming and trading;

- determining the level of preparedness to act in the event of a pandemic;

- identifying the most effective and accessible channels for delivering information;

- monitoring and evaluating the impact of the ongoing communication campaign (information, education) among the population;

- providing timely recommendations on how to improve the communication campaign.

Place of implementation

The study was conducted in all regions of the country with a sample of 1200 respondents. Both quantitative and qualitative research methods were used within the research.

Main project activities

By order of the Ministry of Agriculture of the Kyrgyz Republic in 2010, RDF conducted a countrywide survey on public awareness of outbreaks of avian influenza and other zoonotic diseases.

A sociological survey (questionnaire survey) was conducted in 3 stages: control check, sample check, final assessment. The survey was conducted by professional interviewers who had been previously trained in research methodology and were thoroughly familiarized with the questionnaires.

Comprehensive in-depth interviews were conducted with key informants and stakeholders. Most of the interviews were conducted with specialists from the Department of Gossanepidnadzor under the Ministry of Health of the Kyrgyz Republic, the Republican Center for Quarantine and Especially Dangerous Infections, the Republican Center for Health Promotion, the State Agency for Environmental Protection and Forestry, and the State Department of Veterinary Medicine.

Project results

The collected quantitative data were entered into SPSS statistical database, processed and analyzed.

RDF experts prepared the final report, which included all materials and data collected during the research. For additional information of interest you can contact RDF at or the general department of the Ministry of Agriculture of the Kyrgyz Republic.
Rural institutional development