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Readability of Ebola Information on Websites of Public Health Agencies, United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and Europe

CDC IED JOURNAL  by    Enrique Castro-Sánchez , Elpiniki Spanoudakis, and Alison H. Holmes    Volume 21, Number 7- July 2015                                          

 Public involvement in efforts to control the current Ebola virus disease epidemic requires understandable information. We reviewed the readability of Ebola information from public health agencies in non–Ebola-affected areas. A substantial proportion of citizens would have difficulty understanding existing information, which would potentially hinder effective health-seeking behaviors....

Several factors, including readability of information provided (8), can help reduce health literacy deficits...It is recommended that health information materials should be written at a level typically understandable by an 11-year-old person ... anxiety or panic attributed to a highly virulent infection, such as Ebola, might hinder comprehension of related information (11).

We examined readability of EVD public information available from selected public health agencies in non–EVD-affected countries. Countries that have EVD should explore how well this information would serve to reduce panic and anxiety and perform as an effective source of advice for the public.

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