Examining Real World Global Health Scares On Halloween

“Many of the most terrifying Halloween archetypes have very real counterparts, with very real health consequences,” Victoria Fan, a research fellow at the Center for Global Development (CGD), and Rachel Silverman, a consultant and candidate for MPhil in Public Health at the University of Cambridge, write in the center’s “Global Health Policy” blog. They describe malaria-carrying Anopheles mosquitoes as vampires, reemerging diseases — such as measles, pertussis, and mumps — as ghosts, antibiotic-resistant bacteria as mutants, “virulent and deadly new pathogens” such as SARS and the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) as zombies, those injured in road accidents as mummies, and note the global burden of anxiety disorders, calling it “fear itself.” They write, “Despite all these real-world scares, there’s no need to panic; while no rigorous evidence suggests that stakes or garlic are particularly efficacious, most global health monsters can be stopped with cheap and effective vaccines, prophylaxis, or remedies” (10/31).

The KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report summarized news and information on global health policy from hundreds of sources, from May 2009 through December 2020. All summaries are archived and available via search.

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