Via The Washington Post: Ebola: Eight facts about American perception and West African reality. The last four of the facts (#5 must provoke despair in health communicators):
5. 26 percent of Americans worry they’ll catch Ebola in the next year — even though no one has reported catching Ebola on U.S. soil.
A Harvard School of Public Health survey showed that 39 percent of adults worry there will be a large outbreak in the United States. Twenty-six percent are concerned that they may fall ill with Ebola over the next year.
6. Ebola can be difficult to catch.
It can be quite hard to contract Ebola. It’s not generally airborne, and a person can catch Ebola only from someone who is symptomatic.
7. Ebola has exacerbated hunger in West Africa.
Up to 1 million West Africans now need food rations, according to the World Food Program, Ken Isaacs wrote in the New York Times. One reason: Disease-containing efforts have barred market traders from entering or leaving Liberia’s capital.
8. Computer simulations may help us predict the path of Ebola.
Northeastern University Professor Alessandro Vespignani creates models with data about, for example, air travel. Ebola may be headed next to Gambia, Ghana and Senegal, his research shows. “There is a tangible risk of spreading in the region to other countries,” Vespignani told National Public Radio, “probably in the ballpark of 20 to 30 percent in the next few weeks.”