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Pandemics

  • By: Seow Ting Lee
  • In: Encyclopedia of Health Communication
  • Edited by: Teresa L. Thompson
  • Subject:Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology, Health Communication

In pandemics—outbreaks of deadly and infectious diseases affecting individuals and communities at a global level—communication with stakeholders is a critical aspect of crisis management. Communication helps direct the public to adopt and change their behaviors to limit exposure, reduce morbidity and mortality, and contain the spread of a disease. In the 14th century, the bubonic plague or Black Death wiped out a third of the population in Europe. In 1918, the Spanish flu killed 50 million people across Europe, Asia, and North America. More recent pandemics include the avian flu in 1997, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2003 and 2004, and H1N1 influenza A in 2009. To mitigate the debilitating impact of pandemics, public health agencies deploy strategies of preparedness and responsiveness for medical ...

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