Risk Communication and Pandemic Influenza
This chapter examines a risk scenario that could form one of the most significant communication challenges both nationally and globally: an influenza pandemic. A pandemic occurs when a new influenza strain emerges and spreads rapidly because people have no natural resistance to it. Drawing upon the evidence gathered from healthcare workers — who might plausibly have an enhanced understanding of the potential risks — the chapter considers how information and knowledge might be exchanged amongst the wider public. This should help in understanding how risk communication efforts might most effectively engage with people, before (as well as during) an outbreak. Before outlining this evidence, the characteristics of pandemic influenza that may impact on people's understanding, information needs, and response are summarized.
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