Biosecurity measures are the first line of defense against highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) on farms. It is generally recognized that an individual's behavior can be influenced by the knowledge they possess. However, empirical study has not reported an association between poultry producers' awareness of HPAI symptoms and their actual biosecurity actions. The aim of this study is to classify knowledge items of HPAI by exploratory factor analysis (EFA) and to examine the determinants of different types of knowledge and the effect of different types of knowledge on biosecurity preventive behaviors (BPBs). The survey (n = 297) was conducted using a questionnaire to measure the level of awareness of items related to HPAI and the actual adoption of BPBs among poultry farmers in the Chinese province of Jiangsu. The EFA revealed three main types of knowledge, which were categorized as avian influenza (AI) epidemic characteristics, primary biosecurity preventive knowledge (basic biosecurity preventive knowledge against AI), and essential biosecurity preventive knowledge (crucial biosecurity preventive knowledge against infection of AI). Multivariate regression showed that only poultry farmers' awareness of essential biosecurity preventive knowledge was positively associated with their actual BPBs. Additionally, educational attainment, number of years of experience raising poultry, farming operation size, and training were associated both with BPB and most of the knowledge factors or knowledge items. Training of existing poultry farmers is probably a feasible scheme; furthermore, the training should focus on the essential biosecurity preventive knowledge. On the other hand, policy initiatives to encourage large-scale poultry farming while discouraging small-scale backyard poultry husbandry would be an effective method of improving the management standards of rural poultry farming.
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Vol. 60 • No. 2