Poliomyelitis, better known as polio, struck fear amongst the general public during the 1900s. Now, over a century later, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the spread of polio in Asia, Africa and the Middle East an international health emergency. According to WHO, polio normally affects children under the age of five and one in 200 infections leads to irreversible paralysis.
Although only 43% of Americans were aware of the recent outbreak, 68% were concerned about the potential threat. Americans over the age of 55 are more concerned (75%) than those ages 18-34 (63%). Women (73%) are generally more concerned than men (62%).
Polio isn’t the only major disease making headlines. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) declares that measles cases in the United States reached its highest level in twenty years. 70% of Americans expressed concern about this recent measles outbreak.
Vaccinations remain the only way to prevent both diseases, yet face challenges from anti-vaccine activists. These activists believe that there exists links between the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism. Forty-four percent of American adults, however, do not believe that there is a link between vaccinations and autism.
Adults without children under the age of 18 (48%) are more inclined to disagree that there is a link to autism than those with children under the age of 18 (36%). College graduates (54%) and post grads (72%) are more inclined to disagree that there is a link with autism than those with a high school education or less (36%).
While more American parents opt out of giving their children vaccines, 63% believe that childhood vaccinations should be mandatory. Adults with children under the age of 18 (58%) are less likely to agree with mandatory vaccination than those without (65%). Women are slightly more supportive of mandatory vaccination (66%) than men (61%).