Swine Flu and other Flu Epidemics Article Critique

In 2009, the world faced the latest strain variant in the family of influenza viruses, the H1N1 swine flu, and an event which eventually reached the level of being a pandemic or a worldwide-affecting epidemic. Citizens around the globe were worried of the threats that the said pandemic may bring but it seemed that insufficient information regarding public health issues are possessed by the population. In this paper, the work of McNeil, published in the New York Times, and that of Krause, which was retrieved from the website of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), will be discussed and compared on the manner by which their articles reveal data about swine flu and other epidemics to the public.

Mcneils (2009) article discussed the historical and future implications of the continuous surge of influenza viruses. It mentioned about the Black Death, 1918 Spanish flu, other influenza pandemics, and the impending progress of the avian flu. McNeil explained that the general reaction of the public upon knowing a medical threat is to find a scapegoat and blame to this person or situation the causation of the disease. He said that it was proven in history that affected individuals tend to persecute the perceived cause or origin of the disease, an event which marks the lack of substantial knowledge to educate these group of people. Krause (2006) agreed to this idea by saying that it is essential for researchers to present up-to-date information regarding public health issues, a goal that is being fulfilled today when a number of efforts are being executed by various research centers which seek to investigate the nature and dimensions of influenza diseases. The article of Krause (2006) focused more on the technical and experimental aspect of the influenza disease investigation and vaccine development in the 20th century.

By analysis, it can be said that the two articles were in congruence with the idea of providing scientific knowledge regarding the effects and potential threats of influenza diseases specially swine flu. However, the Finding a scapegoat when epidemics strike by McNeil was written in a way that will attract the attention of the laymen and this is because of the fact that technical terms were not intently used in the text but are replaced with more familiar words or were revealed by the writer in a more reader-friendly manner. The Swine flu episode and the fog of epidemics by Krause, on the other hand, was written in an approach that is fit for the consumption of the scientific community. The text was filled with technical terms and medical jargons in order to support the integrity of the investigation. Furthermore, the fact that the article of Krause came from peer-reviewed journals justify its nature of possessing serious and formal approach which is contrary to McNeils light discussion. In general, it can be inferred that medical and public health experts have their own ways of revealing disease information depending on their target audience. What is important is that the integrity and accuracy of the information was fully maintained in the writing process.


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