Risk Communication, The West Nile Virus Epidemic, and Bioterrorism
Responding to the communication challenges posed by the intentional or unintentional release of a pathogen in an urban setting. The intentional or unintentional introduction of a pathogen in an urban setting presents severe communication challenges. Risk communication – a science-based approach for communicating effectively in high concern situations – provides a set of principles and tools for meeting those challenges.
A brief overview of the risk communication theoretical perspective and basic risk communication models are presented here, and the risk communication perspective is applied to the West Nile Virus epidemic in New York City in 1999 and 2000 and to a possible bioterrorist event. The purpose is to provide practical information on how perceptions of the risks associated with a disease outbreak might be perceived and best managed.