New Survey Shows Concerns Over Spread of Ebola in the U.S. But Also Widespread Trust In Health Authorities

A new survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation examines Americans' attention to the Ebola crisis in Africa, the Ebola cases in the U.S., and people's views of the U.S. role in addressing Ebola in Africa and at home. The survey, fielded October 8-14, 2014, is based on a nationally representative sample of 1,503 adults.



The KFF survey found that:

  • A majority of respondents say they have followed news about the diagnosis of the first Ebola case in the U.S. and the Ebola outbreak in West Africa closely.
  • Nearly all those surveyed know that direct contact with the blood or body fluids of a person who is sick with Ebola and showing symptoms is a major infection vector, but a substantial proportion (1 in 4 and 1 in 3) believe, inaccurately, that a person could become infected through the air or by shaking hands with someone who has been exposed to Ebola but does not have symptoms.  Most (6 in 10) are unaware that a person with Ebola can only transmit the disease after symptoms begin.
  • Those with lower levels of education appear less likely to have an accurate understanding of the methods of Ebola transmission.
  • A majority of the public says they are at least “somewhat” worried that the U.S. will see a large number of Ebola cases in the next 12 months (63 percent), and a robust, albeit smaller, share is worried that they or someone in their family will get sick from Ebola (45 percent). Personal worry about oneself or a family member becoming infected is higher among women (50 percent), African Americans (56 percent), Hispanics (65 percent), and those with a high school education or less (57 percent).
  • However, only 22 percent of respondents believe that there will be a widespread Ebola outbreak in the U.S.
  • Overall, a large majority of the American public trusts local, state, and federal health authorities to contain any potential Ebola cases. About three-quarters (73 percent) say that if there were an Ebola case in their area, they would have “a great deal” or “a fair amount” of confidence in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to contain Ebola and prevent it from spreading. Somewhat smaller shares – but still over six in ten  – say they have at least a fair amount of confidence in their local hospitals (64 percent) and in their state or local health department (62 percent) to prevent the spread of Ebola.
  • Confidence in health authorities is similar across Republicans, Democrats, and independents.
  • A majority of Americans think that the Ebola outbreak in Africa in not under control, and that the U.S. should play a large or leading role in addressing it, by providing medical supplies, investing money in Ebola research, sending medical personnel to train and assist doctors, and providing financial assistance.  Opinion that the U.S. should take a leading or  major role in addressing the outbreak in Africa is similar across Republicans (67 percent), independents (63 percent), and Democrats (71 percent) alike.
  • However, the public is divided on whether the U.S. government is doing enough to fight Ebola abroad and at home. Republicans (56 percent), women (49 percent), and those with less than a college degree (47 percent) are more likely to say that the U.S. government is NOT doing enough to protect Americans from Ebola.



Read more:
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/people-dont-understand-ebola-transmitted-new-survey-says/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=pbsofficial&utm_campaign=newshour
http://kff.org/global-health-policy/poll-finding/kaiser-health-policy-news-index-special-focus-on-ebola/?utm_campaign=KFF:+General&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-9hYjLQBCNz0Une4lbWzowUUgR8qNG9Px55lRcknAi-wF9Ik4KamQOAn1g_LQV4g2gHPYF9UuJoeV6353oQsaYxrF66Dw&_hsmi=14529750&__hstc=87270983.8c4cff91f3b829e7b8ac3d2adebf8461.1411068659540.1411068659540.1413493355837.2&__hssc=87270983.3.1413493355837&__hsfp=3776965903

TeachingwithData.org resources:
Geographic Diffusion of Disease: The Flu Pandemic of 1918-19 (http://www.teachingwithdata.org/resource/3306)
Frederique Laubepin

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