Commission presents results of Eurobarometer on Avian Flu

10-07-2006 | |
Commission presents results of Eurobarometer on Avian Flu

Europeans are well informed about avian influenza and have confidence in the actions of EU and national authorities to tackle it, but significant gaps in knowledge remain about the risks, according to a special Eurobarometer survey on avian influenza published by the Commission.

Most respondents (between 70% and 80% according to the type of measures) correctly identified specific surveillance, control and eradication measures taken to prevent and contain avian flu outbreaks, and 70% of respondents agree that EU public authorities are guided in their actions by genuine concern about the health of European citizens.

The survey reveals, however, that a significant percentage of Europeans remain unsure about certain basic facts about avian flu. For example, 28% do not know that avian flu cannot be transmitted through properly cooked eggs and poultry meat. Most EU citizens replied that they had not reduced their consumption of poultry products, and those that did indicated they had done so only as a precaution.

“I am encouraged that most Europeans are well informed about the risks relating to avian flu, and broadly trust national and EU public authorities in their efforts to prevent and contain avian flu,” said European Health and Consumer Protection Commissioner Markos Kyprianou. “While it is natural that citizens are concerned about avian flu, they need not be unduly alarmed. This survey suggests that a significant proportion of Europeans still have misconceptions about the nature and effects of the virus, and we still have work to do to communicate efficiently in this area. As we prepare for a possible resurgence of avian influenza this autumn, our challenge is to redouble our efforts to explain to European citizens what the real risks are, and to act decisively without causing unnecessary alarm.”

For more information see the full European Commission Eurobarometer on Avian Flu or visit the EC Health and Consumer Protection Directorate General’s avian influenza information site.