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Volume 21, Number 7—July 2015

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

Enrique Castro-SánchezComments to Author , Elpiniki Spanoudakis, and Alison H. Holmes
Author affiliations: Imperial College London, London, UK; and National Institute for Health Research, London

Main Article


Readability of Ebola public information published by selected public health agencies*

Readability formula Selected website
Mean ± SD (95% CI)
ECDC (20.0)† PHE (16.40)† CDC (17.49)† Government of Canada (16.38)† WHO (NA) Government of Australia (12.55)†
Gunning Fog Index 13.7 (hard to read) 13.9 (hard to read) 10.7 (hard to read) 12.9 (hard to read) 10.3 (fairly easy to read) 14.1 (hard to read) 12.6 ± 1.68 (10.83–14.36)
Flesch Reading Ease Score 48.2 (difficult to read) 45.4 (difficult to read) 53 (fairly difficult to read) 42.2 (difficult to read) 62.3 (standard/avg) 42 (difficult to read) 48.85 ± 7.76 (40.69–57.00)
Automated Readability Index 11.6 (17–18 y old) 12.5 (18–19 y old) 7.8 (12–14 y old) 11.8 (17–18 y old) 8.6 (13–15 y old) 11.9 (17–18 y old) 10.7 ± 1.97 (8.62–12.77)
Coleman-Liau Index 12 (12th grade) 12 (12th grade) 10 (10th grade) 13 (college) 9 (9th grade) 11 (11th grade) 11.16 ± 1.47 (9.62–12.71)
SMOG Index 10.7 (11th grade) 11 (11th grade) 9.4 (9th grade) 11.1 (11th grade) 8.4 (8th grade) 11.5 (12th grade) 10.35 ± 1.19 (9.09–11.60)
Linsear Write Formula 13 (college) 14.1 (college) 8.4 (8th grade) 12.6 (college) 9.5 (10th grade) 14.1 (college) 11.95 ± 2.42 (9.40–14.49)
Flesch-Kincaid US Grade Level 11.3 (11th grade) 12.1 (12th grade) 9.2 (9th grade) 11.8 (12th grade) 8.8 (9th grade) 12.4 (12th grade) 10.93 ± 1.54 (9.31–12.55)

*ECDC, European Centre for Disease Control; PHE, Public Health England; CDC, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; WHO, World Health Organization; NA, not applicable; avg, average; SMOG, simple measure of gobbledygook. Items in parentheses are general assessments, age levels, or US-equivalent grade levels.
†Percentage of adults 16–65 years of age with literacy proficiency below reading level recommended for health information materials. ECDC percentage refers to a sample of 17 European Union Member States (12).

Main Article

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Page created: June 15, 2015
Page updated: June 15, 2015
Page reviewed: June 15, 2015
The conclusions, findings, and opinions expressed by authors contributing to this journal do not necessarily reflect the official position of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Public Health Service, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or the authors' affiliated institutions. Use of trade names is for identification only and does not imply endorsement by any of the groups named above.