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January 25, 2017

The Politics of Zika

The public's ability to understand the dangers posed by Zika virus may be jeopardized by advocacy groups linking the virus with culturally charged issues such as illegal immigration and global warming. That was the conclusion of researchers from Yale University and the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania in an article in the Journal of Risk Research. They found that viral internet images and stories associating Zika with hot-button issues, or "culturally antagonistic memes," triggered polarizing reactions in people and "degraded their capacity to make sense of valid public health information."

A recent research report concluded that the public's ability to understand the dangers posed by Zika virus may be jeopardized by advocacy groups linking the virus with culturally charged issues such as illegal immigration and global warming.

Do you think public health agencies need to do more to disseminate health information in a case such as Zika where public sensibilities are largely unformed?

 
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