Expertise and communicating about infectious disease: a case study of uncertainty and rejection of local knowledge in discourse of experts and decision makers

Jennifer Manyweathers*, Melanie Taylor, Nancy Longnecker

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    31 Downloads (Pure)

    Abstract

    Despite Australian horse owners being encouraged to vaccinate their horses against Hendra virus to reduce the risk of this potentially fatal virus to horses and humans, vaccine uptake has been slow. Discourse around the vaccine has been characterised by polarisation and dissenting voices. In this study we interviewed horse owners (N=15) and veterinarians (N=10), revealing how expert knowledge, disqualification of lay knowledge and inadequate handling of uncertainty impacted divisive discourse around Hendra virus. We assert that more inclusive, reflective and ultimately more effective risk communication practices will result if the legitimacy of diverse knowledge sources and the inevitability of uncertainty are acknowledged.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numberA01
    Pages (from-to)1-20
    Number of pages20
    JournalJournal of Science Communication
    Volume19
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 8 Jul 2020

    Bibliographical note

    Copyright the Author(s) 2020. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.

    Keywords

    • health communication
    • professional development and training in science communication
    • professionalism
    • risk communication

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