247203 Behaviors of Cameroonian hunters and butchers put them at risk of zoonotic disease transmission

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Lonna Shafritz , Global Health Population and Nutrition, FHI360, Washington, DC
Karen E. Saylors, PhD , Behavioral Sciences, Global Viral Forecasting, San Francisco, CA
Kathleen O'Rourke , Ghpn, AED, Washington, DC
Guy Ketchatcham Ngamy, MA , White Dove, Yaounde, Cameroon
The purpose of the study is to examine the effects of the Cameroon Healthy Hunter (HH) educational intervention and to provide evidence for identifying more effective messages and interventions.

The study used primary data collected via quantitative, qualitative and participatory methods in eight villages spread across four areas of Cameroon. Data was collected from villages exposed and villages not exposed to the HH intervention.

Some results of the study include: villagers have frequent, varied contact with blood and feces of wild animals, especially when hunting and butchering; people living in villages that participated in the HH intervention are generally aware of the risk of zoonotic disease transmission, especially through blood, and some mentioned specific ways they avoid this contact; and people in non-exposed villages are generally not aware that contact with blood is dangerous.

Gender differences were also found. Men are more likely than women to know about the dangers of contact with blood of wild animals, specific messages and preventive behaviors. Awareness that exposure to wild animal feces can be dangerous was low in all villages studied, despite considerable contact with feces among hunters and butchers. Protective behaviors declared by most villagers include not consuming raw meat or game found dead without obvious wounds from guns, arrows or snares.

Recommendations include 1) developing an approach to better reach women who are at risk because they regularly butcher animals, 2) testing behaviors to see which are most acceptable, and 3) targeting messages to specific groups through additional effective channels.

Learning Areas:
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Communication and informatics
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Protection of the public in relation to communicable diseases including prevention or control
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify high-risk behaviors of hunters and butchers 2. Assess the effects of a long-term educational intervention to prevent disease transmission 3. Formulate specific behaviors and strategies for reducing risk

Keywords: Zoonoses, Behavioral Research

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I oversee programs such as disease prevention and was primary investigator on this study.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.