This study seeks to understand the role the public health community plays in portraying, and responding to public health emergencies, in the United States, by examining the public health journals written during times of epidemic crisis. In this study to be specific, the two main areas of focus are the Ebola and Zika virus, which have sparked an international public health response. There have been prior studies done where journalists have focused on social media outlets, and public reaction but none that really focus on the function of the public health system as it relates to providing the necessary support needed in high risk situations. Often times one finds that when it comes social media outlets a lot of the information has been sensationalized, which in return moves away from the promotion of good health care practices and more towards hysteria, fear, and uncertainty. A content analysis was done on public health journal articles. The theories that are featured in this study are moral panic and risk society.


Tierney, Thomas


Sociology and Anthropology


Medicine and Health Sciences | Public Health | Public Health Education and Promotion


epidemic, zika, public health

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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