Avian influenza is an important public health issue because such viruses have the potential to mutate into a pandemic influenza virus with widespread, even global, morbidity and mortality. Studies have indicated that knowledge about avian and pandemic influenza and perception of pandemic risk are low among the public and even in the health professions. This study was undertaken to evaluate the level of avian and pandemic influenza knowledge and risk perception among adults in southern Minnesota with a view to preparing effective educational interventions and improving preparedness for an influenza pandemic. An 18-question electronic survey was administered to 99 people in the study population to measure overall influenza knowledge, overall risk perception, and whether these variables differed by employment role, educational level, or experience with severe seasonal influenza. Overall knowledge score was 10.03 on a 13-point scale. Overall risk perception was 8.86 on a 15-point scale. Influenza knowledge did not differ among the study sample by employment, education, or influenza experience. Risk perception did not differ by educational level or influenza experience, but did differ by employment role. The author concluded that, in the study sample, knowledge was weak in the areas of prevention and understanding the pandemic potential of avian influenza and that educational interventions would improve influenza knowledge and pandemic preparedness. Future studies should focus on a larger and more representative sample to validate knowledge gaps.


Mark Windschitl

Committee Member

Joseph Visker

Committee Member

Marge Murray-Davis

Date of Degree




Document Type



Master of Science (MS)


Health Science


Allied Health and Nursing

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License



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