Community Awareness and Attitudes towards Influenza Outbreak and Prevention in Serian, Sarawak


  • Rohaya Mohd Nor Head of Department of Business Management, Faculty of Economics and Business, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak.


Rural communities - Influenza - Pandemic outbreak - Sarawak.



To date, there has been no systematic research that investigates the rural community awareness and attitudes towards pandemic influenza H1N1 and its prevention measures in the context of Sarawak.
Objective There is also no systematic study about whether the initiatives to educate the public undertaken by the government and other agencies have empowered the rural communities to practice an effective self-care within the context of community, that assist to curb the potential spread of this disease.


Our research aims to address these limitations. In this paper, we report a survey finding about the awareness and attitudes of the Serian community with regard to this area of research interest. We also investigate the relevant sources of information that the community relies on in understanding about the influenza and how it can spread.


Overall, the outcomes of the survey reveal that a majority of our respondents has a relatively low level of knowledge and awareness particularly about the characteristics of the illness and how H1N1 virus can transmit. With regard to prevention measures, a majority of them reported good understanding and awareness about the effective self-care practices that can help to curb the potential spread of the influenza.


The top five sources to obtain information about the influenza were: information from family, relatives, friends or neighbours; radio; TV; newspapers; and government health talk seminar or campaigns. The research outcomes can offer pragmatic contributions that can benefit the health campaigners and policy makers.



WHO. Strengthening the WHO Global Influenza Surveillance Network (GISN). [Internet] 2010. (cited 2011 December 20). Available from:

Immunization Action Coalition. Unprotected People #93 Influenza. [Internet] 2007. (cited 2012 March 30). Available from:

UN News Centre. Influenza H1N1. [Internet] 2009. (accessed 30 March 2012). Available from: /infocusRel.asp?infocusID=139&Body=+flu+&Body1.

The Star. A (H1N1): Sarawak registers first local transmission. [Internet] The Star Online. July 6 2009. (cited 2011 February 2). Available from: %2f2009%2f7%2f6%2fnation% 2f20090706125143&sec=nation.

Wong, LP, and Sam, I. Behavioral responses to the influenza A (H1N1) outbreak in Malaysia. J Behav Med, 2011; 34:23-31.

Google Maps. Sarawak Map. [Internet] (cited 2012 May 5) Available from:.

Malaysia Department of Statistics. Basic Population Characteristics by Administrative State. [Internet] 2010. (cited 2012 January 15). Available from:.

Wikipedia. Sarawak. (cited 2012 January 15). Available from:

Malaysia Department of Statistics. Jumlah penduduk mengikut kumpulan etnik, daerah kecil dan negeri, Malaysia, [Internet] 2010. (cited 2011 December 20). Available from: Jadual_Mukim_negeri/Mukim_Sarawak.pdf.

Minos P. The Future of Dayak Bidayuh in Malaysia. Kuching: Lynch Media Services; 2000.

Leigh M. Mapping the Peoples of Sarawak. Kuching: Lee Ming Press; 2002.

Malaysia Department of Statistics. Population Distribution and Basic Demographic Characteristic Report. [Internet] 2010. (cited 2011 December 20). Available from: ?option=com_content &id=1215.

Jin KK. Health care in Sarawak: Model of a public system. In: Chee Heng Leng and Simon Barraclough (eds.) Health Care in Malaysia: The dynamics of provision). Routledge-Curzon Malaysian Studies Series; 2007. p187-207.

Malaysia Department of Statistics. Vital Statistics. [Internet] 2010. (cited 2012 March 20). Available from:

Ministry of Health Malaysia. Malaysia Health Facts 2008. May 2009.

The Borneo Post Online. Keep a good eye on H1N1. [Internet] The Borneo Post Online. January 30 2011. (cited 2011 March 15). Available from:

Neuman, WL. Social Research Methods: Qualitative and quantitative approaches. 4th ed. Boston: Allyn and Bacon; 2000.

Balkhy HH, Aboltofouh MA, Al-Hathlool, RH, Al-Jumah MA. Awareness, attitudes, and practices related to the swine influenza pandemic among the Saudi public. BMC Infectious Diseases. 2010; 10:42.

Murray C, Lopez A, Chin B, Feehan D, Hill K. Estimation of potential global pandemic influenza mortality on the basis of vital registry data from the 1918-20 pandemic: a quantitative analysis. Lancet. 2006; 368(9554): 2211-2218.

Tang CS, Wong CY. An outbreak of the severe acute respiratory syndrome: predictors of health behaviors and effect of community prevention measures in Hong Kong, China. American Journal of Public Health. 2003; 93(11):1887-8.

Elledge BL, Brand M, Regens JL, Boatright DT. Implications of public understanding of avian influenza for fostering effective risk communication. Health Promotion Practice. 2008; 9(4Suppl):54S-9S.


Additional Files



How to Cite

Mohd Nor, R. (2013). Community Awareness and Attitudes towards Influenza Outbreak and Prevention in Serian, Sarawak. International Journal of Public Health Research, 3(2), 334–346. Retrieved from