How to learn from our mistakes: Communication of health crises


Abstract


Reviewing public communications emitted during health crises in the last thirty years is useful for verifying that there are a number of repeated mistakes: for example, untrained spokespeople with poor communication skills, ambiguous messages, lack of communication plans for the crisis, and improvisation, which ends up with the transmission of alarming messages to the population and contributes to administrations being considered suspicious or untrustworthy by the people. The denatured rapeseed oil scandal, mad cow disease, influenza A virus, or the recent Ebola outbreak are clear examples of how not to communicate and offer us an opportunity to learn valuable lessons before future crises arise. 


Keywords


health crises; communication of risk; mad cow disease; influenza A; Ebola

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