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Aging, care, and isolation in the time of covid-19.
In this article, we focus on how the proxemics of the pandemic affect people with chronic conditions, including the impact of changed norms of engagement for self-care and chronic disease management for individuals and households. Among older people, COVID-19 can both directly and indirectly increase their isolation, load onto existing health problems, and add to the risks of depression and anxiety. While there is excess mortality among older people from COVID-19, the concomitant accumulating social and physical effects of changes to everyday lives may equally contribute to untimely death. With the spread of coronavirus, there has been growing concern for the vulnerability of older people to serious diseases for both biological and social reasons. Emerging data suggest that COVID-19 deaths and other acute conditions are increasingly unrelated to the virus itself, but born out of its social consequences (Delmas, Bouisset, and Lairez 2020; Manderson and Wahlberg 2020). There is concern regarding increasing suicides and (often interconnected) problems of gender-based violence and alcohol misuse (Al-Ali 2020; Gratz et al. 2020; Ramalho 2020; Troutman-Jordan and Kazemi 2020). The aptly named ‘broken heart syndrome’– stress cardiomyopathy or Takotsubo cardiomyopathy – is also reported to have increased since the start of the pandemic, with the primary risk factor being age, along with anxiety and/or depression (Alharthy et al. 2020; Giustino et al. 2020; Jabri et al. 2020; Sattar et al. 2020). Well into the pandemic, we now need to consider its continuing direct and indirect effects on people’s lives.
How Political Cultures Produce Different Antibiotic Policies in Agriculture: A Historical Comparative Case Study between the United Kingdom and Sweden
The purpose of this article is to provide an understanding of how different countries formulate and regulate antibiotic use in animals raised for human consumption. A comparative case study was undertaken, analysing historical documents from the 1950s to the 1990s from the UK, the first country to produce a scientific report on the public health risks of agricultural antibiotic use; and Sweden, the first country to produce legislation on the growth promotor use of antibiotics in food animals. Sheila Jasanoff's concepts of ‘co‐production’ and ‘political cultures’ have been used to explore how both countries used different styles of scientific reasoning and justification of the risks of agricultural antibiotic use. It will be argued that national dynamics between policy, science and public knowledges co‐produced different risk classifications and patterns of agricultural antibiotic use between both countries. UK's political culture used ‘expert committees’ to remove the issue from public debate and to inform agricultural antibiotic policies. In contrast, the Swedish ‘consensus‐oriented’ political culture made concerns related to agricultural antibiotic use into a cooperative debate that included multiple discourses. Understanding how national policies, science and public knowledges interact with the risks related to agricultural antibiotic use can provide valuable insights in understanding and addressing countries agricultural use of antibiotics.
L’anthropologie engagée dans la lutte contre Ebola (2014-2016) : approches, contributions et nouvelles questions
Durant l’épidémie d’Ebola de 2014-2016, les anthropologues se sont engagés dans la riposte de trois manières : en tant qu’experts d’Ebola, médiateurs culturels entre populations et soignants, et chercheurs. L’article propose une esquisse de bilan de leurs approches et contributions, et discute les enjeux de cet engagement sur la base d’une revue de la littérature, d’études de cas et de débats lors de colloques. Les résultats de recherches en anthropologie présentés dans l’article concernent quatre thèmes : les contextes épidémiologiques de la transmission ; l’interprétation culturelle de la maladie et les réponses sociales ; la construction sociale de l’expérience des acteurs ; l’analyse critique des interventions de santé publique. Outre des contributions éclairantes en particulier sur les contextes sociopolitiques et leurs interfaces avec les mesures de santé publique globales, les anthropologues ont expérimenté des formes de communication de leurs résultats accessibles pour les acteurs de santé publique. Cependant, ces formes d’engagement hétérogènes soulèvent quelques questions, notamment lorsqu’elles reflètent des interprétations de l’anthropologie par ceux qui la sollicitent ou qui s’en revendiquent lui déniant toute portée critique ou réflexive, ou lorsqu’elles la confondent avec une intervention sociale. Néanmoins, les acquis de la recherche anthropologique sont importants, et pourraient l’être davantage si les réseaux transnationaux mis en place par les chercheurs pour analyser les dimensions sociopolitiques, économiques et bio-culturelles des épidémies émergentes pouvaient être pérennisés pour « préparer » la riposte à de futures crises sanitaires. [Afrique de l’Ouest; Ebola; Anthropologie; Épidémie; Sciences sociales]
© Institut Pasteur
Gender dynamics and socio-cultural determinants of middle east respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-Cov) in Saudi Arabia
Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) is a severe viral respiratory illness that is caused by a new strain from the beta group of coronavirus (CoV). At both the global and national level (Saudi Arabia), men are at a greater risk of contracting the virus (68%) in comparison to women. This disparity presents an interesting question: What accounts for these observed sex differences in MERS infection rates? Using an analytic lens that considers the unique dynamics of socially constructed and specific gender roles, this review challenges the common assumption that biological differences in vulnerability (genetic disposition) are the primary drivers for the disparate male infection rates. Specifically, the author uses a gender-based analysis (GBA) to explore gender-based risk factors within Saudi Arabia that may contribute to this disparity. The findings of this review suggest that particular gendered risk factors including religious (Hajj) and cultural practices (shisha smoking), and social roles pertaining to livestock management (dromedary camels) may create different exposures to MERS-CoV. Ultimately, this research illustrates a significant gap in the current knowledge and understanding of how gender dynamics affect infectious diseases, especially concerning the issue of containment of and protection from MERS. [MERS, MERS-CoV, Middle-East Respiratory Syndrome, Gender-based Analysis]
Vaccine rejecting parents’ engagement with expert systems that inform vaccination programs
In attempting to provide protection to individuals and communities, childhood immunization has benefits that far outweigh disease risks. However, some parents decide not to immunize their children with some or all vaccines for reasons including lack of trust in governments, health professionals, and vaccine manufacturers. This article employs a theoretical analysis of trust and distrust to explore how twenty-seven parents with a history of vaccine rejection in two Australian cities view the expert systems central to vaccination policy and practice. Our data show how perceptions of the profit motive generate distrust in the expert systems pertaining to vaccination. Our participants perceived that pharmaceutical companies had a pernicious influence over the systems driving vaccination: research, health professionals, and government. Accordingly, they saw vaccine recommendations in conflict with the interests of their child and “the system” underscored by malign intent, even if individual representatives of this system were not equally tainted. This perspective was common to parents who declined all vaccines and those who accepted some. We regard the differences between these parents—and indeed the differences between vaccine decliners and those whose Western medical epistemology informs reflexive trust—as arising from the internalization of countering views, which facilitates nuance.
© Institut Pasteur/Tamara Giles-Vernick
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