Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Swine flu having powerful impact on us

06.05.2009
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 Öhman, 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.

The KRIHS research team studies risk perceptions among various groups in Sweden and abroad, but also various organizational aspects of crisis management. KRIHS (research group "Crisis and Risk in a Heterogeneous Society" (KRIHS)): www.miun.se/crihs

Questions can be directed to:
Anna Olofsson, phone: +46 (0)63-165 567; cell phone: +46 (0)70-676 0264, anna.olofsson@miun Susanna Öhman, phone: +46 (0)63-165 485; cell phone: +46 (0)70-667 5485, susanna.ohman@miun.se

Pressofficer Lars Aronsson; lars.aronsson@miun.se; +46-70 516 5336

Lars Aronsson | idw
Further information:
http://www.vr.se

Further reports about: BSE Influenza A KRIHS Swine Swine flu cell phone cow disease face masks unknown diseases

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Amazingly flexible: Learning to read in your thirties profoundly transforms the brain
26.05.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Kognitions- und Neurowissenschaften

nachricht Fixating on faces
26.01.2017 | California Institute of Technology

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

Im Focus: Fast, convenient & standardized: New lab innovation for automated tissue engineering & drug

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...

Im Focus: Silencing bacteria

HZI researchers pave the way for new agents that render hospital pathogens mute

Pathogenic bacteria are becoming resistant to common antibiotics to an ever increasing degree. One of the most difficult germs is Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Molecular Force Sensors

20.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Producing electricity during flight

20.09.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

20.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>