Toronto during the SARS outbreak - Essay Example

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The article "Risk perception and compliance with quarantine during the SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) outbreak' whose authors are Maurine A Cava, Krissa E Fay, Heather J Beanland, Elizabeth A McCray and Rauleen Wignall, is a study on qualitine measures undertaken during the outbreak of SARS…
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Toronto during the SARS outbreak
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Analytical Paper: Introduction: The article 'risk perception and compliance withquarantine during the SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) outbreak' whose authors are Maurine A Cava, Krissa E Fay, Heather J Beanland, Elizabeth A McCray and Rauleen Wignall, is a study on qualitine measures undertaken during the outbreak of SARS. Qualitine is a health measure undertaken to avoid transmission of disease to other people and it involves separating the ill from the healthy.
The study focuses on Toronto during the SARS outbreak where more than 14,000 people were quarantined. The health officials ordered exposed people to isolate themselves at home for 10 days, wear masks, and avoid contact with family members and to monitor themselves for symptoms. Failure to comply with this order led to a maximum fine of $5,000.
A random stratified sample was used in this study; the random sample was from the Toronto public health and contained people who had been quarantined. The sample was stratified by sex and closeness of contact. It was a face to face interview that was undertaken in participant's homes. The sample included 16 women and 5 men.
During the quarantine all participants spent time and energy considering the risk of contracting or spreading SARS, participant's compliance was based on ethical, legal and social grounds, ethical in that people complied because they wanted to be good citizens and others termed it as a civil duty. People also complied due to legal issues in that the fine was too large ($5000).

The article's chief premise:
This articles main idea is risk communication during health emergencies of communicable diseases. Risk communication is the key element in encouraging people to adopt healthy behaviours (Rothmans an Kivinierni 1999). The essay is based on personal experience to reveal the link between participants' perception of risk and available information. During the SARS outbreak people doubted the credibility of the information from the public health department and this affected their risk perception, example a participant who commented by saying that he could not understand why he had to be quarantined while his roommate was not, meaning that if he had the virus then so would his roommate. Information from the media also was also doubted.

The author in the article brought out the experience of people quarantined and how they viewed the practice; the participant spent time thinking of the risk of contracting or spreading the disease, therefore we can say that quarantine does not only prevent spread of diseases but also help in communicating the risk of diseases. During quarantine the source of information about the disease was the media, public health department and the work place, due to this the federal government established the public health agency of Canada to coordinate responses of major disease outbreaks. The article brings out the importance of proper communication of disease during disease outbreak.

Maurine A Cava, Krissa E Fay, Heather J Beanland, Elizabeth A McCray and Rauleen Wignall (2005): Risk perception and compliance with quarantine during the SARS outbreak: retrieved on 19th September, available at, Read More
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