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Survey finds nearly half of Americans concerned they or their family may get sick from swine flu
Date:5/1/2009

eing near, but not in close contact with, someone with swine flu (29%), or from being in contact with pigs (34%).

Americans are less certain about prevention and medicine for swine flu. Just over half believe that there is an effective medicine to treat the disease (54%). Most Americans (65%) don't believe that there is a vaccine to prevent the disease. About half of Americans (53%) believe that wearing a face mask could prevent them from getting sick from the swine flu, while more than three-quarters (78 percent) believe that wearing a face mask when sick would help keep them from getting others sick.

"In the days ahead it's important that public health officials explain more clearly what can be done to effectively treat those who are ill, so the public can better understand the choices that are available if they or a family member become sick," said Blendon.

Awareness of "H1N1" versus "swine flu"

The term "swine flu" has been widely used in the media to describe the current outbreak; however, recently some public health officials have used the term "H1N1 virus." The survey found that the majority of Americans (55%) have not heard of the term "H1N1" virus. Only one in five (20%) think it means the same thing as swine flu.

Methodology

This is the 29th in a series of studies on the public and biological security by the Harvard Opinion Research Program (HORP) at Harvard School of Public Health. The study was designed and analyzed by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH). The project director is Robert J. Blendon of the Harvard School of Public Health. The research team also includes John M. Benson, Gillian K. SteelFisher, and Kathleen J. Weldon of the Harvard School of Public Health, and Melissa J. Herrmann of SSRS/ICR. Fieldwork was conducted via telephone (including both landline and cell phone) for HORP by SSRS/ICR of Media (PA) on April 29, 2009.

The survey was conducted with a
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Contact: Todd Datz
tdatz@hsph.harvard.edu
617-432-3952
Harvard School of Public Health
Source:Eurekalert

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