The level of concern varies greatly between countries, with respondents from India showing the most concern (95pc ) compared to just 54pc in Germany.
The survey of more than 18,000 adults across 18 countries, including India, has revealed that the biggest (30pc ) infectious disease concern across the world is seasonal flu. Despite this unified concern, the data from individual countries shows that infectious disease priorities do vary widely across the world.
For example in India the top three concerns are illnesses that cause seasonal colds (47.3pc ), skin infections (37.1pc ) and seasonal flu (31.9pc ).
In UK it is stomach upset (e.g. E. coli, Campylobacter, Salmonella) (42pc ); diarrhoea and vomiting (33pc ); and staph infection/MRSA (30pc ). While the priorities in Nigeria are seasonal colds (49pc ); waterborne illnesses (e.g. Cholera and Typhoid) (44pc ); and skin infections (42pc ).
Despite these differences, the one common theme is the important role that hygiene has in all countries in helping control and preventing the spread of infectious diseases.
Chander Mohan Sethi, Senior Vice President - South East Asia, RB, commented, "More than 3/4th of the respondents from India ensured that they and their families wash their hands with soap and water after going to the toilet and before eating to prevent infections or infectious diseases."
Professor John Oxford, Chairman of the Hygiene Council and Professor of Virology at Barts and The London School of Dentistry, commented, "It is clear from our latest study that the infectious disease concerns of members of the public vary considerably, depending upon the country they live in.
"In some countries respiratory illnesses, such as seasonal influenza and common colds are of most concern, whilst in others gastrointestinal illnesses, caused by pathogens including E. coli and Salmonella are of more concern."
"Despite these differences, it appears universally recognised that good hygiene is an important way to stop the spread of infectious diseases.
"Simple hygiene measures, such as handwashing with soap before handling and eating food and after using the toilet, and targeted surface disinfection are essential in helping to break the chain of infection."
When asked why they are concerned about themselves or their family contracting an infectious disease, 64pc state that it is because of the long term effect on health, whilst more than half (51pc ) say they are worried by an increase in antibiotic resistance, which they believe is making infections caused by bacteria more difficult to treat.
Overall, 68pc of adults think public transport is one of the riskiest places for picking up infectious diseases, compared to just 11pc who view the home as risky.
In addition to these concerns, 73.8pc respondents in India believe that it is because it affects the family's long term health. 51.6pc believe infection spreads easily to other family members and 48pc think that this is because viruses are becoming more resistant to drugs and so are harder to treat.
Despite varying infectious disease concerns between countries, 77pc of adults say they ensure that they and their family wash their hands with soap and water after going to the toilet and before eating and over half (55pc ) of adults say they also regularly clean and disinfect surfaces in the home (e.g. toilet and kitchen surfaces), demonstrating an understanding that good hygiene can help to prevent infection. India is relatively better than the global average with 57pc of adults regularly cleaning and disinfecting surfaces in the home (e.g. toilet and kitchen surfaces) while 77pc Indians endure that they and their family wash their hands with soap and water after going to the toilet and before eating.
Notwithstanding this data, previous Global Hygiene Council studies such as the Dettol HABIT Study have indicated that although people know good hand hygiene is important; in reality they do not always practice it correctly. 83pc of adults say they intend to wash their hands every time they go to the toilet, but just 68pc say they do this with soap and water.
49pc of adults around the world (including India) perceive mass gatherings (e.g. sports matches and music concerts) as some of the most risky places for picking up infectious diseases.
In addition to this 20pc say they avoid attending mass gatherings as a measure to help prevent them from picking up infectious diseases. 68pc of all survey respondents, and 75pc of the respondents in India, perceive the most risky place for picking up infectious diseases to be on public transport.
--IBNS (Posted on 10-10-2013)