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Matsuda Ryozo "It Is Necessary to Transmit Information about Influenza A(H1N1) to Citizens in Order to Prevent Social Disruption"

Kyoto Shimbun May 21, 2009 Morning Edition:2

Humankind has faced epidemic of new infection many times for this couple of hundred years. However, it is the first example for us to allow Influenza A(H1N1) to spread in spite of the fact that the world has been preparing for measures against it to some extent.

It still remains unclear how the society should do. It is necessary for the government to transmit information about Influenza A(H1N1) in order to share information with citizens. At the same time, it is important for citiznes to act in a level-headed manner based on the information provided.

It seems that recent governmental response focuses on a political aspect of "We must not allow infection to be spread." rather than explanations of "Why do we take measures such as medical inspection or hospital stay?" and "Is pathogenicity of Influenza A(H1N1) stronger or weaker compared to existing influenza virus?".

However, if the information is not shared with citizens correctly, there will arise discrimination against patients as in Hansen's disease and AIDS or situation where a person without a mask will be avoided excessively.

It is necessary for the government to explain, for example, why it is important to close classes at school actively. By doing so, the government can have citizens' understanding and cooperation.

In Britain and the U.S., doctors and research institutions are directly involved in policy planning, and researchers themselves actively transmit information about their research achievements. I think that we need the establishment of a social system in which citizens are accessible to necessary information.

UP:September 1, 2009 REV:September 2, 2009
Preparer & Translation by Minoru Kataoka
Matsuda, Ryozo Influenza A(H1N1)