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Public health messages can influence infectious disease stigmas

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Crafting public health messages about a disease may create stigmas that influence how likely people are to endorse certain interventions, such as isolating infected persons, forcing treatment on them and mapping their location, according to a Penn State researcher.

Rachel Smith, associate professor of communication arts and sciences and investigator with the University's Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics, used a hypothetical disease -- a virus carried by rodents -- to develop 16 different health alerts describing the virus and those who were infected.

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