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U.S. Interest in Ebola Wanes. Why?

Jessica Firger | CBS News   in 
January 9, 2015

Although it’s largely dropped out of the headlines in this country, the Ebola outbreak continues to ravage West Africa. At least 8,235 people have died and more than 20,700 have fallen ill since the outbreak first began last year, according to the latest World Health Organization figures released Jan. 4. Six out of 10 patients currently hospitalized with the virus will die, and a huge number of victims still aren’t receiving medical care, which has allowed this public health crisis to continue to escalate at an alarming pace.

Yet many Americans may be under the impression that the Ebola crisis is winding down. People have short attention spans and the news cycle is fickle, both of which have contributed to the illusion that Ebola is no longer the worry it once was. However, a look at data from Google Trends and the World Health Organization reinforces a simple, and some might say disheartening, reality of human behavior: Most of us aren’t that interested in a crisis until it hits very close to home.

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