Smallpox related knowledge and beliefs among recent college graduates

Document Type



Recent world events have increased concern and preparations for possible bioterror events. Despite worldwide efforts to limit access to bio-weapons, smallpox is still considered a potential bioterror threat. Americans' understanding of smallpox could prevent panic and enhance the willingness of citizens to receive vaccinations.


The authors' purpose in this study was to describe graduating college students' levels of smallpox-related knowledge. METHOD SUMMARY: Participants at a graduation ceremony--mostly female, with a mean age of 28.4+/-8.1 years--were handed a 35-item questionnaire that assessed smallpox knowledge and whether respondents would submit to vaccination under hypothetical circumstances.


The convenience sample was ignorant of numerous facts about smallpox and unaware of government efforts to prepare for an attack, answering an average of 3.8 out of 10 items correctly.


These findings raise concern because, in a smallpox event, prompt responses to directives of public health officials will be necessary to maximize the effectiveness of response plans.


Community-Based Research | Community Health | Diseases | Public Health


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