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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 sickness via developing tales, jokes, conspiracy theories, legends, and rumors, yet those narratives are usually extra destructive than the illnesses they reference. the data disseminated via them is frequently faulty, incorporating xenophobic causes of the disease’s origins and questionable scientific information regarding power remedies and treatment.

Folklore experiences brings very important and invaluable views to figuring out 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 different modern affliction outbreaks like AIDS and the H1N1 virus. His research means that those ailment narratives don't spring up with new outbreaks or illnesses yet are in non-stop move and are recycled opportunistically. Lee additionally explores no matter if this predictability of vernacular ailment narratives provides the chance to create counter-narratives published systematically from the govt or scientific technology to stymie the unwanted effects of the apprehensive rumors that so frequently inflame humanity.

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

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Sample text

Canada seemed to have recovered especially rapidly, as no new cases had been reported outside of a hospital in twelve days (“WHO: Worst of SARS Over in Some Countries” 2003). As a direct result of this, the WHO lifted the travel advisory for Toronto on Chronicle of a Health Panic 24 the last day of the month. As a final positive note, banks around the world reported that SARS had done something they had struggled to achieve for years: encourage people to do their banking online. This allowed banks to save costs by “trimming branch networks and cutting payrolls,” as conducting business online was more cost effective (Zhu 2003).

Experts such as James Hughes of the National Center for Infectious Diseases in Atlanta, Georgia, did not help the situation; he said in a newspaper article, “It would be hard for me to see how [SARS] could be eliminated from places like . . Hong Kong at this point . . I think it would be prudent to say it’s here to stay” (Stein 2003). Similar comments were made worldwide, with experts beginning to think that SARS had become so widespread that its eradication would prove impossible. They predicted SARS would crop up seasonally, much like the common cold.

One walking tour in San Francisco’s Chinatown reported that no one showed up for its Saturday excursion for the first time in twenty years. Travel agencies in Los Angeles said that 90 percent of their booked flights to Asia were cancelled and school groups in New York cancelled field trips to the Museum of Chinese in the Americas (Hopkins 2003). So potentially serious were the economic effects that on April 24, the US National Institutes of Health formally asked for assistance from US-based drug manufacturers in developing a vaccine, drug, or immunotherapy system to help combat SARS (Pearson 2003).

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