Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Swine Flu: Who Is Afraid Of It?

Date:
May 6, 2009
Source:
The Swedish Research Council
Summary:
The new influenza A (H1N1), known as the swine flu, demonstrates the power of people's perceptions of risk. Sales of face masks are breaking all records not only in Mexico but also in other countries such as Sweden. Hotel guests are being isolated at a hotel in Hong Kong, and people with the sniffles are being isolated in airports around the world. But before the outbreak of the flu, this was a risk that extremely few Swedes perceived as a serious threat to themselves.

The new influenza A (H1N1), known as the swine flu, demonstrates the power of people's perceptions of risk. Sales of face masks are breaking all records not only in Mexico but also in Sweden. Hotel guests are being isolated at a hotel in Hong Kong, and people with the sniffles are being isolated in airports around the world. But before the outbreak of the flu, this was a risk that extremely few Swedes perceived as a serious threat to themselves.

Before the outbreak of the flu in Mexico, few Swedes were concerned about pandemics, previously unknown diseases, or diseases related to animals, such as mad cow disease or BSE. This is shown in the national questionnaire-based study Society and Values (SaV), with 1,500 participants. The study was performed last winter by the KRIHS research team at Mid Sweden University.

"The results show that it is difficult to predict what risks will have an impact on public opinion," says Susanna Φhman, associate professor of sociology and head of the Department of Social Sciences. "There are certain differences across groups," she continues. "If you live in a city you will be more worried than if you live in the country. People of foreign origin are also more concerned. Highly educated people, however, are less anxious than those with little education. In terms of both origin and education, the results accord with previous studies and other types of risks. The difference between city and country is more unusual and may be due to the fact that those living in cities have more contacts with others outside the private sphere."

How is it that something that extremely few perceive as a risk one day can get Swedes to empty the stores of face masks the next day?

"There's no single answer to that question," says Anna Olofsson, associate professor of sociology and coordinator of KRIHS research. The obvious answer is that an entirely new type of influenza appeared that actually can lead to a pandemic, and that is frightening. At the same time there are many other diseases and risks that are also extremely dangerous, killing many people across the world. A further explanatory factor is that the new influenza is also a risk that is rapidly amplified in society. This is done when the mass media, the general public, experts, politicians, and authorities draw attention to the risk in various ways.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by The Swedish Research Council. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

The Swedish Research Council. "Swine Flu: Who Is Afraid Of It?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 May 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090506093849.htm>.
The Swedish Research Council. (2009, May 6). Swine Flu: Who Is Afraid Of It?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090506093849.htm
The Swedish Research Council. "Swine Flu: Who Is Afraid Of It?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090506093849.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How Nigeria Beat Its Ebola Outbreak

How Nigeria Beat Its Ebola Outbreak

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) — The World Health Organization has declared Nigeria free of Ebola. Health experts credit a bit of luck and the government's initial response. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Another Study Suggests Viagra Is Good For The Heart

Another Study Suggests Viagra Is Good For The Heart

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) — An ingredient in erectile-dysfunction medications such as Viagra could improve heart function. Perhaps not surprising, given Viagra's history. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Worries End for Dozens on U.S. Watch Lists

Ebola Worries End for Dozens on U.S. Watch Lists

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 20, 2014) — Forty-three people who had contact with Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S., were cleared overnight of twice-daily monitoring after 21 days of showing no symptoms. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Fauci: Ebola Protocols to Focus on Training

Fauci: Ebola Protocols to Focus on Training

AP (Oct. 20, 2014) — Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says he expects revised CDC protocols on Ebola to focus on training, observation and ensuring health care workers are more protected. (Oct. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins