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Bird flu hype: the spread of a disease outbreak through the media and Internet discussion groups

Hellsten, Iina; Nerlich, Brigitte

Authors

Iina Hellsten

Brigitte Nerlich



Abstract

Bird flu, otherwise known as avian influenza, has attracted widespread public and global attention. The H5N1 avian influenza virus was first documented as infecting humans in Hong Kong in 1997, and many of those infected died subsequently from the virus that had been transmitted from poultry to humans. It took several years, however, before a hyped up type of public debate about bird flu began in around 2004. This article examines the hype surrounding public debates about bird flu in medical journals, newspapers and public discussion forums from 1997 to 2006. The article focuses on the development of the frequencies of published texts, and the terminology used in the three databases. The quantitative results will be accompanied by hermeneutic interpretation of the main sub-topics within the debates. These (preliminary) results contribute to research dealing with the emergence of hypes, and spread of public debates more generally.

Citation

Hellsten, I., & Nerlich, B. (2010). Bird flu hype: the spread of a disease outbreak through the media and Internet discussion groups. Journal of Language and Politics, 9(3),

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jan 1, 2010
Deposit Date Oct 12, 2010
Publicly Available Date Oct 12, 2010
Journal Journal of Language and Politics
Print ISSN 1569-2159
Electronic ISSN 1569-2159
Publisher John Benjamins Publishing
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 9
Issue 3
Public URL http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/1360
Publisher URL http://www.benjamins.com/cgi-bin/t_bookview.cgi?bookid=JLP%209%3A3
Additional Information "Bird flu hype: the spread of a disease outbreak through the media and Internet discussion groups". From: Journal of Language and Politics, 9(3), 2010, pp. 393-408. With kind permission by John Benjamins Publishing Company, Amsterdam/Philadelphia. www.benjamins.com].

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