Australian psychologist Steven Taylor published what would turn out to be a prophetic book, and it has become like a Lonely Planet guide to the pandemic.
Pandemics are large-scale epidemics that spread throughout the world. Virologists predict that the next pandemic could occur in the coming years, probably from some form of influenza, with potentially devastating consequences. Vaccinations, if available, and behavioral methods are vital for stemming the spread of infection.
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This book offers the first comprehensive analysis of the psychology of pandemics. It describes the psychological reactions to pandemics, including maladaptive behaviors, emotions, and defensive reactions, and reviews the psychological vulnerability factors that contribute to the spreading of disease and distress. It also considers empirically supported methods for addressing these problems and outlines the implications for public health planning.
Remarkably little attention has been devoted to the psychological factors that influence the spread of pandemic infection and the associated emotional distress and social disruption. Psychological factors are important. They play a role in nonadherence to vaccination and hygiene programs and play an important role in how people cope with the threat of infection and associated losses. They help in understanding and managing societal problems, such as the spreading of excessive fear, stigmatization, and xenophobia that occur when people are threatened with infection.
It is often referred to incorrectly as the “Spanish flu.” Between 50 and 100 million people are thought to have died, representing as much as 5% of the world’s population. Half a billion people were infected.
Misconceptions about it may be fueling unfounded fears about the new virus.
In the spring of 2009, a novel influenza A (H1N1) virus emerged. It was detected first in the United States and spread quickly across the United States and the world.
This new H1N1 virus contained a unique combination of influenza genes not previously identified in animals or people.
Transmissible diseases existed during humankind’s hunter-gatherer days, but the shift to agrarian life 10,000 years ago created communities that made epidemics more possible.
We started building cities and forging trade routes to connect with other cities, declaring wars with them; all these made more likely the existence of pandemics.
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