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Few Americans Prepare For Avian Flu, Poll Shows
posted by admin on 02/05/06

Public awareness of avian flu has increased in the last year, but few Americans have made any preparations for an outbreak, according to a new Wall Street Journal Online/Harris Interactive health-care poll.

Sixty-five percent of Americans surveyed said they are familiar with avian flu today, compared with fewer than half of those polled a year ago. Concerns about an outbreak are increasing: 44% are somewhat concerned about the possibility of a pandemic, compared with 39% in 2005, and 20% said they are very concerned, compared with 12%.

But few Americans are preparing for the possibility of a pandemic, according to the survey of 2,029 U.S. adults. Only 7% have taken steps advised by Secretary of Health and Human Services Michael Leavitt to stockpile food, water and basic first aid. And only 5% have prepared a plan for how their families might cope with an outbreak.

Given the attention avian flu has received in the media, including comments from Mr. Leavitt, "the urgency isn't getting across to the American public," says Katherine Binns, senior vice president at Harris Interactive.

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