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Volume 16, Number 1—January 2010

Dispatch

Perceptions and Reactions with Regard to Pneumonic Plague

G. James RubinComments to Author , Richard Amlôt, M. Brooke Rogers, Ian Hall, Steve Leach, John Simpson, and Simon Wessely
Author affiliations: King’s College London, London, UK (G.J. Rubin, M.B. Rogers, S. Wessely); Health Protection Agency, Salisbury, UK (R. Amlôt, S. Leach, J. Simpson); Health Protection Agency, Wilts, UK (I. Hall)

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Table 2

Perceptions of and precautionary behavioral responses to a hypothetical pneumonic plague outbreak affecting >100 persons, United Kingdom, September 2007*

Predictor Variable level, no. responses
Association, adjusted odds ratio (95% confidence interval)
Very or fairly likely Not very or not at all likely (reference) Stock up on food, n = 798 (79.8%)† Leave the area, n = 223 (22.4%)† Avoid others, n = 850 (84.6%)† Seek medical advice, n = 792 (79.4%)† Try to obtain antimicrobial drugs, n = 724 (72.5%)†
If someone catches pneumonic plague, they would feel unwell within 24 h

690
149

1.8 (1.1–2.7)
1.6 (1.0–2.5)
1.3 (0.8–2.1)
1.5 (1.0–2.4)
1.9 (1.2–2.8)
There have been cases of pneumonic plague in Britain in the past 10 y

228
687

1.1 (0.8–1.7)
0.9 (0.6–1.4)
1.0 (0.6–1.5)
1.4 (0.9–2.1)
0.8 (0.5–1.1)
If you come within 6 feet of someone who had pneumonic plague and was clearly ill, you would probably catch the disease

735
237

2.5 (1.8–3.6)
1.8 (1.2–2.7)
1.8 (1.2–2.6)
2.2 (1.5–3.1)
2.0 (1.4–2.8)
If you come within 6 feet of someone who had pneumonic plague but who had not yet developed any signs of illness, you would probably catch the disease

623
333

2.2 (1.6–3.2)
1.4 (1.0–2.0)
1.5 (1.0–2.1)
2.0 (1.5–2.9)
1.5 (1.1–2.1)
Unless they receive immediate treatment, then most people who catch pneumonic plague will die from it

767
169

2.1 (1.4–3.1)
2.8 (1.7–4.7)
1.8 (1.1–2.8)
2.3 (1.5–3.4)
2.2 (1.5–3.2)
If antibiotics are administered immediately after a person has been infected, they would probably survive

880
69

0.6 (0.3–1.2)
0.7 (0.4–1.3)
1.1 (0.6–2.2)
0.4 (0.2–1.0)
1.0 (0.6–1.8)
If someone with plague has been in a room, how long would it take after they leave before it is safe to enter the room?
<1 d 372 0.6 (0.4–0.9) 0.5 (0.4–0.8) 0.4 (0.2–0.7) 0.6 (0.4–0.9) 0.6 (0.4–0.9)
1–2 d 226 1.3 (0.7–2.1) 0.6 (0.4–0.9) 0.6 (0.3–1.0) 0.7 (0.4–1.2) 1.0 (0.6–1.6)
>3 d 237 Reference Reference Reference Reference Reference

*All odds ratios adjusted for home ownership, ethnicity, sex, age, working status, number of years in education, social grade, number of people at home and parental status. Survey stage 3. Boldface indicates significance (p<0.05).
†Very or fairly likely to perform that behavior.

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