WELLNESS
10/07/2014 05:31 pm ET Updated Oct 07, 2014

Ebola Worry Grows, But Most Are Confident U.S. Can Avoid A Large Outbreak

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Americans are increasingly concerned about the spread of the Ebola virus, but most say they're confident any U.S. outbreak could be contained, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll.

More than 70 percent of Americans say they've been following the story of a man in Texas who was diagnosed with Ebola, according to the poll, taken before the man's condition was reported to have worsened over the weekend.

Forty-one percent say they're "very concerned" that the Ebola outbreak in western Africa could spread to the U.S., up from 28 percent in August. Fully 80 percent are at least somewhat concerned, up from 69 percent in the previous poll. Other surveys confirm rising worry about the disease.

Experts say an outbreak in the U.S. is "extraordinarily unlikely" -- a message that seems to have largely gotten across. Despite concerns, a 56 percent majority of Americans say they're confident there won't be a large outbreak of Ebola in the U.S.. That number is down from about two-thirds in August.

People are less worried when they're asked to speculate about their personal health as opposed to abstract questions about the spread of the disease. In a separate Pew Research poll released this week, about one-third said they were concerned that they or someone in their family would be exposed to Ebola. That falls at or several percentage points below the level of public concern during other disease scares in the past two decades, including swine flu in 2009, staph in 2007, bird flu in 2005, and SARS in 2003.

The HuffPost/YouGov poll was conducted Oct. 1 to Oct. 3 among 1,000 U.S. adults using a sample selected from YouGov's opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population. Factors considered include age, race, gender, education, employment, income, marital status, number of children, voter registration, time and location of Internet access, interest in politics, religion and church attendance.

The Huffington Post has teamed up with YouGov to conduct daily opinion polls. You can learn more about this project and take part in YouGov's nationally representative opinion polling. Data from all HuffPost/YouGov polls can be found here.

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