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By Jon D. Lee

In An Epidemic of Rumors, Jon D. Lee examines the human reaction to epidemics throughout the lens of the 2003 SARS epidemic. Societies often reply to the eruption of sickness by means of developing tales, jokes, conspiracy theories, legends, and rumors, yet those narratives are usually extra harmful than the ailments they reference. the knowledge disseminated via them is usually erroneous, incorporating xenophobic factors of the disease’s origins and questionable scientific information regarding strength treatments and treatment.

Folklore stories brings very important and helpful views to figuring out cultural responses to the outbreak of affliction. via this etiological learn Lee indicates the similarities among the narratives of the SARS outbreak and the narratives of different modern disorder outbreaks like AIDS and the H1N1 virus. His research means that those disorder narratives don't spring up with new outbreaks or ailments yet are in non-stop move and are recycled opportunistically. Lee additionally explores no matter if this predictability of vernacular sickness narratives offers the chance to create counter-narratives published systematically from the govt or clinical technology to stymie the unwanted effects of the apprehensive rumors that so usually inflame humanity.

With capability for functional program to public overall healthiness and future health coverage, An Epidemic of Rumors will be of curiosity to scholars and students of future health, 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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This tradition may have actually led to the initial outbreak in Qingxu: Communist Party Secretary Yue Shoubin contracted SARS in Beijing, was hospitalized in Qingxu, and was visited in the hospital by several members of a delegation, at least two of whom subsequently tested positive for SARS and one of whom died (Pomfret 2003). Despite their earlier agreement to be more open, China censored a CNN International report on May 15, refusing to air it because it “positions a negative coverage of China,” according to one official.

The rejection came on the same day as health officers announced 22 new cases and 12 fatalities, bringing the island’s death toll to 72 (Huang 2003b). These cases, however, did not include several hospital patients who had not passed the ten-day incubation period, raising the possibility of dozens of unreported infections (“New SARS Deaths a Blow for Taiwan” 2003). On May 26, Taiwan announced no deaths but 15 new cases, and Taipei’s health bureau chief Chiou Shu-ti resigned over a major outbreak in a city hospital.

On May 23, Toronto health officials revealed that they were looking into 25 possible new cases. This new outbreak covered two hospitals—St. John’s Rehab and North York General Hospital—and prompted the CDC to reissue their Toronto travel alert three days after lifting it. Of those infected, two of the North York patients had died and three of the St. John’s patients were in critical condition. Microbiologists studying the new outbreak were not immediately clear how it had spread and assumed all vectors as potentially infectious: health care workers, family members, and even other patients.

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