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Americans Increasingly Anxious About Ebola

Harris Poll/HealthDay survey finds more people viewing virus as 'major threat' to the 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 rose 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. About one out of four people who had holiday or business travel plans said they now plan to cancel or cut back on that travel, due to concerns about Ebola.

Poll respondents also came out strongly in favor of increased screening of new arrivals to America from the West African nations of Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone, the main countries affected by the Ebola outbreak. Nine out of 10 people said they agree with screening of people entering the country from those nations, and two-thirds said they agree strongly. However, 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.

On Wednesday, U.S. authorities announced that five major international airports -- JFK International Airport in New York City, Washington Dulles International, O'Hare International in Chicago, Hartsfield-Jackson International in Atlanta, and Newark Liberty International in New Jersey -- would begin Ebola screening for passengers arriving from the three affected West African nations.

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