Americans More Fearful of Car Crashes, Terrorist Hits than Avian Flu

January 25, 2006

A new national survey of 1,000 Americans revealed that Americans are more fearful of car accidents, natural disasters and terrorist attacks than they are of the Avian Bird flu.

The national survey was conducted by HCD Research during Jan. 24-25, in response to recent reports that the Avian Bird flu may enter the United States.

Among the findings:

* More than half of Americans (59%) believe that it is likely that the Avian Bird flu will reach the U.S.
* Less than half (44%) are concerned that it will affect them personally or their family. Americans are split regarding their confidence in the federal government’s ability to handle an outbreak of the bird flu in the U.S., with 36% reporting that they are confident and 37% indicating they are not confident. The balance indicated that they were undecided.
* When asked: ‘based on the probability of an event putting you or your family at risk, please rank in order of intensity of your concern,’ Americans ranked the Avian Bird flu second to last, above an airline accident. Americans ranked the following list of potential disasters based on intensity of concern.

1. Car accidents
2. Natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes and tsunamis
3. Terrorist attacks employing a dirty or nuclear bomb
4. Bio terrorism such as small pox or anthrax
5. Avian Bird flu
6. Airline Accidents

“Clearly, the federal government must make its case that it is prepared to effectively handle any bird flu epidemic,” stated Dr. Arthur Kover, a sociologist and consulting director at HCD Research. “With only one-third of Americans expressing a sense of confidence, perhaps this is a reflection of the Hurricane Katrina debacle.”

The national survey was conducted by HCD Research as part of its continuing investigation of the social, political and economic issues confronting the U.S. health care system.

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