Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Impact of Behavior on Amplification and Spread of Diseases during Outbreaks | Jan 16, 2019


  • Health, Ethics and Law Institute, FMES, Mumbai
  • Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, IIT Bombay, Mumbai

Venue: Seminar Room, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, IIT Bombay, Mumbai
Synopsis:  In his lecture, Dr Richard Cash discussed how individual or collective behaviors during an epidemic, especially of new and emerging infectious diseases, can have major implications on the amplification and the spread of disease. He spoke on the availability and acceptance of preventive measures and treatment; the psychological distress that may lead to complex social problems; and the economic impact of an epidemic on the community. He elaborated on this phenomenon with the examples of HIV/AIDS, Nipah, Ebola, Zika, influenza, and drug resistant bacteria. Customs/beliefs such as faith based healing, funeral and burial practices, and the stigmatization of the patients, survivors, and health care professionals affected outcomes during the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa. In India, responses to recent outbreaks of Nipah, Zika, and leptospirosis (post-flood in Kerala) are contemporary examples. These responses and other outbreaks across the world should be examined not just from the basic epidemiologic characteristics of the pathogen but also the behavioral changes they evoke.
Speaker: Richard Cash, Senior Lecturer on Global Health, Department of Global Health and Population, Harvard T H Chan School of Public Health, University of Harvard, Boston