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Americans Increasingly Anxious About Ebola: Poll

Harris Poll/HealthDay survey finds jump in number of people who say virus is 'major threat' to United States

FRIDAY, Oct. 10, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- One-quarter of Americans now view Ebola as a major public health threat to the United States, with many saying they'd change their travel plans due to Ebola fears, a new Harris Poll/HealthDay survey reveals.

The online poll of more than 2,000 adults, taken between Oct. 2 and 6, finds the number of people seriously concerned about Ebola surging in recent weeks.

The number of people who consider Ebola a "major threat" to the United States jumped from 13 percent in mid-September --- before the nation's first diagnosed case of Ebola appeared in Dallas on Sept. 28 -- to 27 percent during polling earlier this week.

Overall, the survey found that 55 percent of people now view Ebola as some level of public health threat to the United States, up 15 percentage points from a mid-September survey. That's more than are worried about widespread illnesses such as hepatitis C (49 percent) or West Nile virus (45 percent).

Poll respondents also came out strongly in favor of increased screening of new arrivals to America from the West African nations of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the main countries affected by the Ebola outbreak.

"As the Ebola epidemic in West Africa continues to grow very rapidly, and the first American Ebola victims are being treated in this country, there is overwhelming support for strict screening of all new arrivals from the countries affected," said Humphrey Taylor, chairman of The Harris Poll.

However, there are signs in the poll that concern over Ebola has not yet spilled over into outright panic. More than four out of five respondents told the pollsters they don't plan to make any changes in their daily routine because of the outbreak, and three-quarters said they're still more worried about catching the flu than Ebola.

The complete findings of the newest joint Harris/HealthDay poll are available here. HealthDay's news report is available here. Full data on the poll and its methodology are available at Harris Poll.

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About Harris Poll

Harris Poll is one of the world's leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including health care, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in more than 215 countries and territories through our North American, European, and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us - and our clients - stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.

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