Ebola Misconceptions Common Among Americans

Ebola Misconceptions Common Among Americans
Ebola Misconceptions Common Among Americans

(HealthDay News) — Many Americans know little about how Ebola is transmitted and harbor unfounded fears about the possibility of an outbreak in the United States, a new survey shows. About four in 10 adults said they are worried that there will be a major Ebola outbreak in the United States, and one-quarter are concerned that they or an immediate family member will get sick with the deadly virus in the next year, according to the latest Harvard School of Public Health poll.

In the survey, education appeared to play some role in clearly understanding the minimal threat posed by Ebola, with 50% of those who didn't finish high school worried about an outbreak in the United States, compared with 36% of those with some college education and 24% of those with a college degree.

The survey also found that 37% of people who didn't finish high school were concerned they or a family member would get sick with Ebola, compared with 22% of those with some college education and 14% of those with a college degree. People who didn't finish high school were also less likely to closely follow news about the Ebola outbreak in West Africa (57%) compared to those with some college education (62%) or with a college degree (73%).

"Many people are concerned about a large-scale outbreak of Ebola occurring in the United States," researcher Gillian SteelFisher, PhD, deputy director of the Harvard Opinion Research Program, said in a university news release. "As they report on events related to Ebola, the media and public health officials need to better inform Americans of Ebola and how it is spread."

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