Thu, Feb 07, 2019 - Page 2 News List

FEATURE: Illustrator helps CDC give faces to infectious diseases

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Initially, she though the characters should be like people who can be seen on the street every day, because these diseases can be caught easily, but when she sent in her first design for Novel Influenza A Virus Infections, the CDC told her that “it didn’t obviously convey the message that it is transmitted mainly through exposure to infected birds,” she said.

“I later used the plague doctors [who treated victims of bubonic plague in Europe’s Middle Ages and wore a bird beak mask] for inspiration,” she said.

She also learned to add more distinctive details for each character, such as Pai Ching’s disinfecting gun and Dengue Fever’s mosquito-wing tattoo.

Her favorite is Influenza, the pale teenager who frequently coughs and has the letters A, B and C tattooed on his knuckles to represent the three types of influenza virus, she said.

She created Enterovirus as a gender-free child because there are various types of enteroviruses and boys and girls are both at high risk of infection, she said.

The looks and profile of every character were the product of many discussions with the CDC, she said.

CDC Deputy Director-General Philip Lo (羅一鈞) said the fake magazine covers were the first time the center has tried using characters in a public health campaign, and Pai Ching was designed with bleach as the starting point for inspiration.

“We plan to bring out more characters this year,” he said, along with related materials and content.

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