The story looks like its straight from a history book about the dark ages. Doctors without Borders tried to setup a clinic in Haiti to treat cholera patients. Instead of being welcomed by the local people, the doctors were met with fear, a small riot and rock throwing. The situation got so bad that armed troops had to be brought in to protect the clinic and doctors.
During the middle ages, people that did not understand the plague looked for groups of people to blame for the outbreaks. Finger pointers would pick someone in the village that had a bad reputation, brand them a witch for the outbreak of the plague, and burn them at the stake. An unknown number of Jews were murdered and burned during the Dark Ages for “supposedly” spreading the plague. There are stories of people being rounded up, locked in a barn, and the barn set on fire – because it was believed the people were witches, or were Jews and were responsible for causing the plague.
600+ years later, and people still express fear of diseases they do not understand.
The question is, if an epidemic breaks out in your area, will the locals understand the disease? Will they know how to prevent the spread of the disease, and will they welcome treatment? Or will they throw rocks at the people that are there to help.
One of the conditions that helps an epidemic spread is misunderstanding by the people. Karen might go visit her friends with the mindset that “its ok, Jill is not sick”. But what Karen does not know is that Jills mom works at one of the local Big Box Marts and has lots of face-to-face contact with people. Jill visits with Karen, and the family, and brings back an unwelcome guest in the form of a bacteria or virus.
Post your comments in this forum thread about fear and misunderstanding during an epidemic.
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