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Is the Ebola virus keeping you up at night?

In the past few months, the Ebola virus' spread has reached epidemic levels in Western Africa, taking the lives of thousands and garnering international attention due to the severity of the sickness. Although the main focus of global leaders has been to slow the virus down in hot spots across Liberia, Sierra Leone and other nearby nations, many individuals around the world have started to become concerned about the potential of Ebola entering their own borders. 

Sometimes the best way to gauge the public's sentiments regarding a global crisis such as this one is to put online surveys out there in hopes of getting a wealth of responses and detecting trends. It has become clear the United States is split regarding worries about Ebola striking the nation but, given the speed with which this virus wreaks havoc on towns and countries, this might change before too long. 

The people speak
In a recent Opinion Outpost poll to which 7,792 individuals responded, 41 percent stated that they were concerned about Ebola spreading now that the first confirmed case of the virus was found in the U.S. This is compared to 39 percent of respondents who said they were somewhat concerned about the event, and 20 percent who were not concerned at all about the virus spreading. 

It is worth noting that researchers and health experts have asserted that the risk of spread within developed nations is highly unlikely given these regions' access to exceptional infrastructure that makes Ebola far more difficult to break out than in Western Africa. 

With this in mind, the Pew Research Center conducted a survey of roughly 1,000 individuals that found only 11 percent of respondents were concerned about the prospect of contracting the Ebola virus, while 20 percent stated that they were confident the public sector will be able to prevent this type of catastrophe. Remember, this was a smaller sample size than the Opinion Outpost poll, but Pew did note that the results were similar to a November 2005 survey regarding concerns about bird flu spreading in the U.S.

At the end of the day, time will tell how the Ebola virus plays out on the global stage. 

What comes next?
Public health workers have called upon governments and households to get involved in the prevention of Ebola virus spread, as well as to provide assistance in the nations that need it the most, such as Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Nigeria. The outbreak that began in December 2013 has now caused more than 7,000 deaths across the board, and continues to impact individuals at an accelerating rate. 

So, the real question is how the public and its governments will react to the calls to action that have now started to come from a variety of sources. 

As an individual living in the United States today, do you feel as though you can make a difference in the fight against Ebola? How will you get involved, and how do you think the government should approach the situation?

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