Public health crisis response and establishment of a crisis communication system in South Korea: Lessons learned from the MERS outbreak

Jae Wook Choi, Kyung Hee Kim, Jiwon Monica Moon, Min Soo Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)


It is widely believed that effective communication is critical for the containment of the spread of emerging infectious diseases. Various media outlets and studies have pointed out communication failure as one of the key components that contributed to the wide and rapid spread of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus in South Korea. To address these concerns, we first outline the definitions of risk and crisis communication and why they are important. We then illustrate communication models and guidelines utilized in three organizations (World Health Organization, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and UK Public Health England) for health or disaster control. By analyzing the current guidelines for infectious diseases in South Korea and they were actually applied during the Middle East respiratory syndrome situation, we will assess what went wrong and what went right. Finally, we will suggest various measures that will help to ensure similar tragedies do not happen again.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)624-634
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the Korean Medical Association
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Jan 1



  • Communicable diseases
  • Coronavirus infections
  • Crisis communication
  • Risk communication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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