By Jon D. Lee

In an outbreak of Rumors, Jon D. Lee examines the human reaction to epidemics during the lens of the 2003 SARS epidemic. Societies often reply to the eruption of sickness through developing tales, jokes, conspiracy theories, legends, and rumors, yet those narratives are usually extra harmful than the ailments they reference. the data disseminated via them is usually erroneous, incorporating xenophobic motives of the disease's origins and questionable clinical information regarding strength treatments and treatment.

Folklore reports brings vital and invaluable views to realizing cultural responses to the outbreak of disorder. via this etiological examine Lee indicates the similarities among the narratives of the SARS outbreak and the narratives of different modern sickness 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 circulate and are recycled opportunistically. Lee additionally explores no matter if this predictability of vernacular ailment 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 worried rumors that so usually inflame humanity.

With power for useful software to public well-being and overall healthiness coverage, a virus of Rumors should be of curiosity to scholars and students of overall healthiness, drugs, and folklore.

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Extra info for An Epidemic of Rumors: How Stories Shape Our Perceptions of Disease

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This decision may have been made in light of reports from Hong Kong’s health officials of a decline in the numbers of new SARS cases for three days in a row (“CDC Team Arrives in Toronto” 2003). Hong Kong had also created a novel warning system for its people in the form of text messages sent to cell phones: “Those opting for the service will have their phones tracked and will be told via short message service (SMS) which buildings within a kilometer of their location have had SARS . . cases occur, as declared by the Hong Kong Department of Health” (Lui 2003).

But many people in Qingxu—and, it can be assumed, in other parts of China—doubted they would ever have access to that money; one local interviewee told a reporter from the Washington Post, “A peasant’s life in China has never been worth anything” and referred to a general belief that local officials had stolen funds 28 Chronicle of a Health Panic intended to alleviate poverty. Those same officials, anticipating reactions to these beliefs and concerned about the spread of SARS, began to ban migrant workers from returning home.

But one day shy of the “twenty days free of new cases” mark set by the WHO to qualify a country as free of SARS, a single Malaysian man was positively diagnosed. Officials, though disappointed, still remained positive; one case in twenty days was considerably better than the large number of deaths reported in April. “Singapore should take this in its stride,” said Health Minister Lim Hng Kiang (Chuang 2003). Bright spots such as these stood in sharp contrast to the losses that businesses continued to suffer.

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