A questionnaire based survey related to Novel H1N1
swine origin influenza virus (S-OIV, swine flu) was
administered to 134 pediatricians of Chandigarh city, to assess their
knowledge (10 questions), attitudes (4 questions) and practices (4
questions). Of 134, 94 (70%) responded. Thirty percent (n=28) were
in private practice and 70% (n=66) were in public sector. Forty six
percent were registered with Indian Academy of Pediatrics. Only 52% (n=49)
were aware that swine flu predominantly occurs in young healthy
individuals. Ninety percent (n=85) were familiar with clinical
symptoms and 70% (n=66) with incubation period. Current WHO phase-6
of pandemic alert was known to a few (14%).
Regarding management practices, only 33% (n=31)
knew that Oseltamivir and Zanamivir both could be safely used in children,
while 63% (n=59) pediatricians knew of only Oseltamivir. Eighteen
percent (n=17) believed that breastfeeding should be stopped for
mothers receiving pharmacotherapy. The possibility of reinfection with S-OIV
even after successful therapy was known to 43% (n=40).
Hand washing and special masks were suggested as best
methods of prevention for the physicians [27.7% (n=26) and 65% (n=
61), respectively]. N95 masks utility was known to 78%. The state of mind
as regards to the pandemic was cautious and careful (91%), alarmed and
panicky (5%) and not bothered (4%). Most pediatricians (94%) agreed that
more efforts are needed to spread awareness regarding this pandemic.
Internet was the most popular means of acquiring information about swine
flu (84%), followed by newspaper and media (46%), senior health
professionals (19%) and books (10%).
The survey’s results suggest that there is a mixed
response in the preparedness of pediatricians towards swine flu. On an
encouraging note, majority of the physicians had tried to educate
themselves about this pandemic. There is need to scale up the efforts to
spread awareness about swine flu.