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Some factors affecting the decision on non-mandatory vaccination in an influenza pandemic: comparison of pandemic (H1N1) and seasonal influenza vaccination

Background: The 2009 influenza pandemic caused by the influenza A (H1N1) 2009 virus was accompanied by a debate about whether or not to be vaccinated. The percentage of people who decided to be vaccinated was lower than in the case of seasonal influenza vaccination. We therefore compared factors influencing the decision on pandemic and seasonal influenza vaccination.

Method: Slovene inhabitants aged 18 and over (N=1383) completed an internet based survey on socio-demographic and health behaviour-related characteristics, personality traits, and characteristics of decision-making. Two stepwise logistic regression analyses were performed, one with an uptake of the pandemic influenza vaccine and the other with an uptake of the seasonal influenza vaccine as a dependent variable.

Results: In addition to common predictors of a decision in favour of the two vaccinations (age, gender, chronic illnesses, working in healthcare, trust in media news and vaccination side-effects in someone close), deciding in favour of vaccination against the pandemic virus was related to living with children and thoroughness in decision-making. It was also related to being vaccinated against seasonal influenza, trust in pandemic vaccine safety and professional information in favour of vaccination, and the decision of someone close.

Conclusions: In the face of the pandemic threat and lack of information, people behaved as they had in previous similar situations and according to the behaviour of people close to them and information from trusted sources. Concern for children and decision-making characteristics also became important. These factors should be considered in future crisis interventions.

The impact of environmental factors on distribution of Scops Owl Otus scops in the wider area of Kras (SW Slovenia)

The aim of the study was to determine the key environmental factors affecting Scops Owl Otus scops occurrence in the wider Kras plateau area (SW Slovenia, 665 km2). Scops Owl was systematically censused in 2006 (180 calling males) and in 2008 (167 calling males). Males were distributed either solitarily or clumped in groups, mostly situated in villages and its surroundings, indicating the species' synanthropic character. Crude densities were 0.3 males/km2 in 2006 and 2008, respectively, while ecological densities were 1.0 males/km2 in 2006 and 0.9 males/km2 in 2008. Population distribution remained roughly the same in both years, with the highest densities in the western and central parts of the Kras plateau, on Kraški rob and on Podgorski kras plateau. Habitat selection was analyzed at three spatial scales (regional, settlement and territory scales), based on spatial data layers (22 environmental variables), using Chi-square goodness-of-fit test and logistic regression. Results revealed that at the regional scale, Scops Owl preferably selected open habitats (extensively managed orchards, built-up areas, vineyards, permanent grasslands) and avoided dense forest and agricultural land with forest trees. As far as settlements were concerned, Scops Owl was more prone to select those that were more distant from the highway, with better preserved traditional agricultural landscape (with more hedgerows) and with higher average annual air temperature. In territory selection, Scops Owl occurrence was associated with longer distance from the highway, larger number of old buildings and higher landscape mosaics. The species seems to be threatened by traffic noise, habitat loss through abandonment and intensification of land and, potentially, by lack of breeding niches within settlements. Conservation measures should include the preservation of mosaic farmland, promotion of extensive agricultural practices, prevention of scrub and forest expansion, and maintenance of breeding niches (old trees, cavities in buildings).

Abstract

Introduction. 15 to 25% of women smoke during pregnancy. Scientific evidence suggests that exposure to smoking causes decreased birth weight. The aim of this study was to assess the correlation between smoking during pregnancy, maternal sociodemographic characteristics, and low birth weight. Methods. Data were derived from 1572 questionnaires administered to each woman that gave birth at the Gynecology Teaching Hospital “S. Anna” in Turin (Italy) during the period from 2008 to 2010. Multiple logistic analysis was used to evaluate the association between socio-demographic characteristics and birth weight; the stepwise approach with a “backward elimination” procedure was followed, and the goodness of fit of the model was estimated using the Hosmer-Lemeshow test. Results. The univariate analysis revealed that smoking cigarettes (17%), having a lower educational level (13%), and female sex of the infant (13%) seem to be risk factors, as they increase the risk of having a low birth weight child. Logistic regression analysis showed that gestational age and maternal smoking are the statistically associated variables. Conclusions. The results confirmed that birth weight increases proportionally with the length of the gestational age and that maternal smoking and the child’s sex (female) increase the risk of having a lower birth weight. Logistic regression demonstrated that the association between maternal smoking and low birth weight shows an increased risk for the whole population (OR=2.85), for male (OR=3.45) and for female newborns (OR=2.44)

Abstract

Aim: To gain insight into the trend of career choice for family medicine in Croatia in recent years.

Methods: Six surveys were performed in the academic years 2006/07-2011/12 at the University of Zagreb, School of Medicine. Altogether, 1140 6th year students participated. They anonymously completed a questionnaire containing questions on desired future specialisation as well as other selected characteristics (e.g. gender, desired area and place of work, motivation to study medicine, etc.). Binary logistic regression was used to determine unadjusted and adjusted trends.

Results: After adjustment for selected factors, the relationship between observed outcome and the year of observation showed an evident decreasing trend. The odds for intention to specialise in family medicine were in the academic year 2006/2007 1.43-times higher than in the year 2007/2008 (p=0.412), 1.85-times higher than in the year 2008/2009 (p=0.168), 2.38-times higher than in the year 2009/2010 (p=0.051), 2.63-times higher than in the year 2010/2011 (p=0.027) and 3.85-times higher than in the year 2011/2012 (p=0.003).

Conclusions: The results of the present study offer evidence that Croatia is experiencing a constantly decreasing trend of career choice for family medicine in recent years. It is obvious that final year medical students are not very much interested in working as family practitioners. At the same time, demand for family practitioners in Croatia is increasing. Both academic and professional societies have a social responsibility to reorient the health care system and medical curricula towards comprehensive primary health care in which family medicine has a key role.