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By Jon D. Lee

In An Epidemic of Rumors, Jon D. Lee examines the human reaction to epidemics during the lens of the 2003 SARS epidemic. Societies frequently reply to the eruption of illness by way of developing tales, jokes, conspiracy theories, legends, and rumors, yet those narratives are frequently extra harmful than the ailments they reference. the data disseminated via them is frequently erroneous, incorporating xenophobic motives of the disease’s origins and questionable scientific information regarding power therapies and treatment.

Folklore experiences brings very important and necessary views to realizing cultural responses to the outbreak of ailment. via this etiological examine Lee exhibits the similarities among the narratives of the SARS outbreak and the narratives of alternative modern ailment outbreaks like AIDS and the H1N1 virus. His research means that those sickness narratives don't spring up with new outbreaks or ailments yet are in non-stop flow and are recycled opportunistically. Lee additionally explores no matter if this predictability of vernacular affliction narratives offers the chance to create counter-narratives published systematically from the govt. or clinical technological know-how to stymie the unwanted effects of the frightened rumors that so frequently inflame humanity.

With capability for useful program to public overall healthiness and health and wellbeing coverage, An Epidemic of Rumors will be of curiosity to scholars and students of healthiness, drugs, and folklore.

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Extra resources for An epidemic of rumors : how stories shape our perception of disease

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And some US educators were frustrated that their universities had cancelled planned research trips to China (“SARS Impacting Higher Education” 2003). In mid-May, two US doctors pointed out to a journalist that SARS, at this point, had only claimed the lives of 23 people in Canada and none in the United States, making the West Nile virus far more deadly, as it had killed 284 people in the United States and Canada in 2002. One of these doctors—Paul Epstein of the Harvard Medical School Center for Health and the Global Environment—said, “The attention focused in recent weeks on SARS is extraordinary and, it can be argued, excessive” (Fox 2003a).

SARS was noted to almost certainly be caused by a coronavirus, but the disease’s symptoms also seemed to be associated with a human metapneumovirus isolated in 2001. The editorial ended with a note that laboratories around the world were racing to check these correlations (Zambon 2003). The second major piece in the April 19 edition of the BMJ was a professional paper by two researchers—a professor and a physician—at the University of Hong Kong. The short paper reviewed Hong Kong’s rising number of deaths from SARS, summarized laboratory and pathological findings, recommended courses of treatment, and provided a list of precautions for doctors to take when treating those infected by SARS.

Moving to the medical literature, the last three editions of The Lancet published in May had sixteen SARS-related articles between them, including several research letters, editorials, and commentaries. Once again, all of these articles were clinical in nature. The only piece that looked at the nonmedical world’s impressions of the disease came in the form of an article titled “SARS, Lay Epidemiology, and Fear,” published in the May 17 edition. The article began promisingly, summarizing the increase in stress and fear in a German hospital’s outpatient department, which was said to be due to a graph published in a local newspaper, wherein a journalist had Chronicle of a Health Panic 33 attempted to lay down an exponential curve on the epidemic, predicting an increasing surge in case numbers over the next few months.

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