May 10, 2009

Swine Flu Has Curbed Displays Of Affection

The fear of swine flu seems to have had a significant effect on the level of physical contact in which people are now engaging.

According to a survey released on Friday, approximately one in 10 Americans have stopped hugging and kissing close friends or relatives in fear of swine flu.

Health officials have encouraged frequent hand washing and hand sanitizing in order to prevent the spread of the virus. The survey reported that about two-thirds of Americans are acting of the advice.

Robert Blendon, the Harvard School of Public Health researcher who led the polling says, "This outbreak has permeated a lot of American life."

The degree of concern has dropped considerably, according to Blendon. A telephone survey also reported that approximately six out of every 10 Americans are not currently worried that they or someone in their immediate family will get sick from the virus in the next year.

However, parents of school-aged children showed a much greater concern about swine flu infections. Many parents voiced opinions that schools have not provided adequate information about what steps are being taken to prevent spread of the virus.

Over 1,000 people participated in the survey. Harvard get its funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to do surveys on public health concerns, but Blendon says the CDC does not control the design or method of the surveys at all.

The survey was conducted on Tuesday and Wednesday and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.

On Friday, the CDC noted that the number of confirmed swine flu cases in the U.S. is now at 1,639, and new cases are reportedly still occurring. That number involves 57 hospitalizations and two deaths.


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