Responding to global infectious disease outbreaks: Lessons from SARS on the role of risk perception, communication and management

Responding to global infectious disease outbreaks: Lessons from SARS on the role of risk... With increased globalisation comes the likelihood that infectious disease appearing in one country will spread rapidly to another, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) being a recent example. However, although SARS infected some 10,000 individuals, killing around 1000, it did not lead to the devastating health impact that many feared, but a rather disproportionate economic impact. The disproportionate scale and nature of this impact has caused concern that outbreaks of more serious disease could cause catastrophic impacts on the global economy. Understanding factors that led to the impact of SARS might help to deal with the possible impact and management of such other infectious disease outbreaks. In this respect, the role of risk—its perception, communication and management—is critical. This paper looks at the role that risk, and especially the perception of risk, its communication and management, played in driving the economic impact of SARS. It considers the public and public health response to SARS, the role of the media and official organisations, and proposes policy and research priorities for establishing a system to better deal with the next global infectious disease outbreak. It is concluded that the potential for the rapid spread of infectious disease is not necessarily a greater threat than it has always been, but the effect that an outbreak can have on the economy is, which requires further research and policy development. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Social Science & Medicine Elsevier

Responding to global infectious disease outbreaks: Lessons from SARS on the role of risk perception, communication and management

Social Science & Medicine, Volume 63 (12) – Dec 1, 2006

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Publisher
Elsevier
Copyright
Copyright © 2006 Elsevier Ltd
ISSN
0277-9536
DOI
10.1016/j.socscimed.2006.08.004
pmid
16978751
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

With increased globalisation comes the likelihood that infectious disease appearing in one country will spread rapidly to another, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) being a recent example. However, although SARS infected some 10,000 individuals, killing around 1000, it did not lead to the devastating health impact that many feared, but a rather disproportionate economic impact. The disproportionate scale and nature of this impact has caused concern that outbreaks of more serious disease could cause catastrophic impacts on the global economy. Understanding factors that led to the impact of SARS might help to deal with the possible impact and management of such other infectious disease outbreaks. In this respect, the role of risk—its perception, communication and management—is critical. This paper looks at the role that risk, and especially the perception of risk, its communication and management, played in driving the economic impact of SARS. It considers the public and public health response to SARS, the role of the media and official organisations, and proposes policy and research priorities for establishing a system to better deal with the next global infectious disease outbreak. It is concluded that the potential for the rapid spread of infectious disease is not necessarily a greater threat than it has always been, but the effect that an outbreak can have on the economy is, which requires further research and policy development.

Journal

Social Science & MedicineElsevier

Published: Dec 1, 2006

References

  • Comparative study of patients with and without SARS who fulfilled the WHO SARS case definition
    Chang, S.M.; Liu, C.L.; Kuo, H.T.; Chen, P.J.; Lee, C.H.; Lin, F.J.
  • What are the most appropriate methods of surveillance for monitoring an emerging respiratory infection such as SARS?
    Greaves, F.
  • Public reliance on risk communication channels in the wake of a Cryptosporidium outbreak
    Griffin, R.J.; Dunwoody, S.
  • Risk: From perception to representation
    Joffe, H.
  • Representations of far-flung illnesses: The case of Ebola in Britain
    Joffe, H.; Haarhoff, G.
  • Overview on SARS in Asia and the World
    Lam, W.N.; Hong, Z.
  • Valuation of the risk of SARS in Taiwan
    Liu, J.T.; Hammitt, J.K.; Wang, J.D.; Tsou, M.W.
  • Assessing the macroeconomic impact of a healthcare problem: The application of computable general equilibrium analysis to antimicrobial resistance
    Smith, R.D.; Yago, M.; Millar, M.; Coast, J.
  • Disease metaphors in new epidemics: The UK media framing of the 2003 SARS epidemic
    Wallis, P.; Nerlich, B.
  • Representations of SARS in the British Newspapers
    Washer, P.
  • Representations of mad cow disease
    Washer, P.

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