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    Using fiction to engage audiences with infectious disease: the effect of the coronavirus pandemic on participation in the Bad Bugs Bookclub.

    Verran, Joanna ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5539-6896 (2021) Using fiction to engage audiences with infectious disease: the effect of the coronavirus pandemic on participation in the Bad Bugs Bookclub. FEMS Microbiology Letters, 368 (12). ISSN 0378-1097

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    Abstract

    During Bad Bugs Bookclub meetings, scientists and non-scientists discuss novels in which infectious disease forms part of the plot in order to encourage public understanding of, and engagement with, microbiology. The website presents meeting reports and reading guides for over 70 novels. The aim of this work was to raise awareness of the bookclub and increase website engagement. In 2019, events designed to reach new audiences maintained an increase in page views from the end of 2018 (around 200 per month). In 2020, the coronavirus pandemic forced bookclub meetings online (Zoom). These, with podcasts and some Twitter discussion, increased page views with a peak of 400 per month. Membership increased, and global 'attendance' was facilitated. Feelings and observations related to each book and the pandemic were noted in meeting reports. A survey of current and previous bookclub members carried out early in lockdown with the aim of determining the future direction of the bookclub revealed the continuing value of both literary and scientific experiences to members. The bookclub has engaged scientists and non-scientists in meaningful discussion about infectious disease. Reach is modest, but the resource is significant, with potential impact in education and engagement.

    Impact and Reach

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    Activity Overview
    6 month trend
    140Downloads
    6 month trend
    91Hits

    Additional statistics for this dataset are available via IRStats2.

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