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Risk Communication and Infectious Diseases in an Age of Digital Media (Hardcover) (Anat Gesser-edelsburg
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In a digital world in which lay people have an increasingly strong voice in the public sphere, how can health experts best exert influence to contain the global spread of infectious diseases?
Disease outbreaks threaten the health safety of populations throughout the world, as demonstrated forcefully by the Ebola epidemic in West Africa and, prior to this, outbreaks of swine flu, SARS and HIV/AIDS. At the same time, digital media provide both an important source of health information and a powerful platform for the public to air personal experiences and concerns, including any scepticism regarding the views of scientific experts.
In the context of this shift in the role of the public from recipients to active and vocal entity, this timely book explores the challenges presented to health authorities in responding to lay opinion while managing the outbreak and spread of infectious diseases. It examines different organisational strategies for communicating public health information and identifies common misconceptions that can inhibit effective communication with the public. Drawing on original research and a range of global case studies, the book offers an important assessment of the complex dynamics at play in managing risk and informing public health decisions. It provides thought-provoking analysis of the implications for future health communication policy and practice.