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Many Americans Harbor Unfounded Fears About Ebola Outbreak: Survey
Date:8/22/2014

FRIDAY, Aug. 22, 2014 (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.

However, those opinions don't match reality, the Harvard researchers noted. Ebola is not transmitted easily, there have been no cases of Ebola transmission in the United States, and the two American aid workers treated for the disease were infected while working closely with Ebola patients in West Africa.

The Americans, Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol, have since recovered and were released from Emory University Hospital Thursday.

"Many people are concerned about a large-scale outbreak of Ebola occurring in the U.S.," researcher Gillian SteelFisher, 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," she added.

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

The survey also found that 37 percent of people who didn't finish high school were concerned they or a family member would get sick with Ebola, compared with 22 percent of those with some college education and 14 percent of those with a college degree.

People who didn't finish high school were also less likel
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