Wednesday 5th Feb, 2:45 pm
Research in science communication
Hendra Virus is a fatal disease transmitted from bats to horses and then to humans. This zoonotic virus has a mortality rate of 54% in humans and over 80% in horses (McFarlane et al., 2011). With treatment options still experimental, risk minimisation strategies aimed at infection prevention are the mainstay for disease management. A vaccine for horses released late in 2012 has become pivotal in controlling infection.
Because current risk management strategies rely on horse owners and trainers understanding and acting on preventative recommendations, it is vital to understand how these recommendations are received and acted upon by these stakeholders.
Initial research suggests that there is a spectrum of horse owners’ responses concerning strategies they could adopt to protect their horses and themselves against Hendra infections (Kung et al., 2013). These responses include taking action, knowing risk mitigation strategies and not adopting them, and finding the risk mitigation strategies impractical and irrelevant.
What factors drive those at risk of Hendra Virus infection to act on risk management strategies? What impediments are there to stakeholders taking action to protect themselves and their animals? This project is exploring factors involved in stakeholder decisions about risk management strategies: whether to act or not.
KUNG, N., MCLAUGHLIN, A., TAYLOR, M., MOLONEY, B., WRIGHT, T. M. & FIELD, H. 2013. Hendra Virus and Horse Owners – risk perception and management. In Print.
MCFARLANE, R., BECKER, N. & FIELD, H. 2011. Investigation of the Climatic and Environmental Context of Hendra Virus Spillover Events 1994-2010: e28374. PLoS One, 6.