Most Americans do not expect widespread human cases of avian flu in US in the next year

Boston, MA -- The latest national poll conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) Project on the Public and Biological Security finds that at the moment, the majority of the American public is concerned about the threat of avian flu, but only a small proportion is very concerned. However, should cases of avian flu emerge in poultry or humans in this country, the public reaction could lead to significant disruption of the economy and the health care system.

To see the figures related to this poll, visit http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/press/releases/blendon/Avian_Flu_Charts.ppt

To see the topline, visit http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/press/releases/blendon/Avian_Flu_Release_Topline.doc

Concern about Avian Flu

More than half of Americans (57%) report that they are concerned about the potential spread of bird flu in the United States (Figure 1). However, only 15% are very concerned at the moment. A higher proportion of African Americans report that they are concerned about this than whites (70% versus 54%). Similarly, the majority of Americans are not currently concerned that they or a family member will get avian flu within the next twelve months; only one in five (21%) people are worried about this possibility (Figure 2). Six in ten people are concerned about a pandemic outbreak of avian flu, that is, an outbreak in many countries (62%), but only 20% are very concerned. In addition, the American public does not believe avian flu will ultimately spread widely among wild birds (only 28% think so), poultry (24%), or humans in the United States (14%) in the next 12 months. (Figure 3)

If the U.S. were to experience human cases of the avian flu virus currently circulating in Asia, there would be significant public reaction. If such cases were

Contact: Christina Roache
Harvard School of Public Health

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