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Physis: Revista de Saúde Coletiva
Print version ISSN 0103-7331
MALINVERNI, Cláudia; CUENCA, Angela Maria Belloni and BRIGAGAO, Jacqueline Isaac Machado. Media epidemics: sense production and social configuration of yellow fever in the journalistic coverage, 2007-2008. Physis [online]. 2012, vol.22, n.3, pp. 853-872. ISSN 0103-7331. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0103-73312012000300002.
Located in the Field of communication and health, the objective of this article is to analyze the senses attributed in the discourse on yellow fever, during the journalistic coverage of the epizooty of the diseased, occurring in Brazil during the summer 2007-2008. Employing the theoretical reference of discursive practices and sense production in daily life and the hypothesis of agenda-setting and framing of the news, all material on yellow fever issued by the newspaper "Folha de São Paulo" were analyzed during the period comprised between 12/21/07 to 02/29/08 as well as all official documentation on the epizooty issued by the Brazilian authorities on public health during the period comprised between 01/03 and 02/28/08. Finding indicate that discursive strategies of the journalistic coverage rendered relative the discourse of public health authorities; prioritized divulgation of the number of cases; emphasized vaccination as the limit between life and death, refraining to inform the risks of the indiscriminate use of the product and propagated the imminence of a major epidemics of yellow fever. These strategies attributed new senses to the disease, dislodging the event from the wild form, restrict in space and limited in severity, to the urban form, characterized by epidemics and with a more severe potential. Secondarily, this study allowed to identify the impact of this media discourse on the national immunization system and the risks to which the population was exposed due to the senses produced: in 2008, eight cases of serious reactions to the vaccine were registered, and six of these cases resulted in deaths.
Keywords : Yellow fever; journalism; communication in health; discursive practices; agenda-setting; framing.