Cultural Practices Shaping Zoonotic Diseases Surveillance: The Case of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza and Thailand Native Chicken Farmers

Delabouglise, A and Antoine-Moussiaux, N and Tatong, D and Chumkaeo, A and Binot, A and Fournié, G and Pilot, E and Phimpraphi, W and Kasemsuwan, S and Paul, M C and Duboz, R and Salem, G and Peyre, M (2017) Cultural Practices Shaping Zoonotic Diseases Surveillance: The Case of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza and Thailand Native Chicken Farmers. Transboundary and Emerging Diseases, 64 (4). pp. 1294-1305. ISSN 1865-1674

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Abstract

Effectiveness of current passive zoonotic disease surveillance systems is limited by the under-reporting of disease outbreaks in the domestic animal population. Evaluating the acceptability of passive surveillance and its economic, social and cultural determinants appears a critical step for improving it. A participatory rural appraisal was implemented in a rural subdistrict of Thailand. Focus group interviews were used to identify sanitary risks perceived by native chicken farmers and describe the structure of their value chain. Qualitative individual interviews with a large diversity of actors enabled to identify perceived costs and benefits associated with the reporting of HPAI suspicions to sanitary authorities. Besides, flows of information on HPAI suspected cases were assessed using network analysis, based on data collected through individual questionnaires. Results show that the presence of cockfighting activities in the area negatively affected the willingness of all chicken farmers and other actors to report suspected HPAI cases. The high financial and affective value of fighting cocks contradicted the HPAI control policy based on mass culling. However, the importance of product quality in the native chicken meat value chain and the free veterinary services and products delivered by veterinary officers had a positive impact on suspected case reporting. Besides, cockfighting practitioners had a significantly higher centrality than other actors in the information network and they facilitated the spatial diffusion of information. Social ties built in cockfighting activities and the shared purpose of protecting valuable cocks were at the basis of the diffusion of information and the informal collective management of diseases. Building bridges with this informal network would greatly improve the effectiveness of passive surveillance.

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