Global Disease Outbreaks: How Much Do Americans Know?

Dec 16, 2011 | Amy L. Sonricker Hansen | Outbreak News

A recent survey conducted by EcoHealth Alliance has shown that fewer than 1 in 5 people realize that the next pandemic will most likely come from animals. In fact, experts approximate that 75 percent of all emerging infectious diseases are actually of animal origin.

The online survey was conducted in October 2011 and targeted Americans 18 years and older. Of the 1,003 people that completed the survey, 68 percent reported being somewhat or very worried about a global disease outbreak, with younger adults (18-34 year olds) being more likely to report being very worried. Despite the reported high amount of concern, less than half of survey participants knew that factors contributing to global disease outbreaks included international wildlife trade, climate change, deforestation, and bushmeat hunting. In addition, a majority of respondents answered that a new highly infectious disease originating in Asia or Africa would take at least four days to reach the United States. Scientists on the other hand believe it would take less than 48 hours.

“The key to stopping gobal disease outbreaks is to protect wildlife and reduce our impact on their habitats, Disruptions to an environment from global travel and trade can bring viruses from the other side of the globe right to our very doorstep here in the U.S. within days of an outbreak.” says Dr. Peter Daszak, President of EcoHealth Alliance. In regards to whether scientific organizations will be able to prevent the next big pandemic Dr. Daszak stated, “We can’t afford complacency, because we are ultimately fighting to safeguard our very own health.”  

 

Test your knowledge by taking the survey (available with the compiled results) by downloading the PDF available at: http://www.ecohealthalliance.org/sup/downloads/EcoHealth%20Alliance%20Survey.pdf

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