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Americans want flight bans for West African nations

The same respondents were twice as likely to disapprove of the decision to send U.S. troops to West African countries.

By Brooks Hays
Americans want flight bans for West African nations
U.S. President Barack Obama (R) makes remarks as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Martin Dempsey (L) and HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell listen during a meeting with his national security team and senior staff for an update on the Ebola crisis in West Africa, at the White House. (File/UPI/Mike Theiler) | License Photo

WASHINGTON, Oct. 9 (UPI) -- According to a recent survey, a majority of Americans want flights from the West African nations hardest hit by the ongoing Ebola outbreak -- Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone -- to be banned from entering the United States.

The survey was conducted via email by the company SurveyMonkey using an NBC News questionnaire regarding the Ebola outbreak and the subsequent international response. Exactly 1,010 U.S. adults responded -- all over the age of 18 and all previous SurveyMonkey respondents.

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The survey, which attempted to mimic U.S. census results in regards to factors such as age, sex, race, education, and region, found that 58 percent of American adults support a flight ban policy, despite the insistence from health officials that such a move would be counterproductive.

The same respondents were twice as likely to disapprove of the decision to send U.S. troops to West African countries to help curtail the spread of the deadly viral disease.

Those who answered the survey were rather well informed about the disease. Most understood how the disease is spread.

"People actually have to have a decent understanding in how you contract Ebola. Only 10 percent said through the air, and 15 percent said through the skin," John Lapinksi, a political scientist at the University of Pennsylvania and one of the academics who analyzed the survey results, told NBC. "The knowledge [result] is not trivial."

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The full array of survey questions and results can be found here.

Though U.S. officials have so far declined to consider flight bans, strengthened screening processes for passengers traveling from West Africa have been instituted at five major airports -- including New York's JFK International Airport, Washington-Dulles, Newark, Chicago-O'Hare and Atlanta. Passengers will have their temperature checked and will be required to fill out a survey about their recent interactions with anyone potentially infected with Ebola.

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