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Reporters from Science Magazine to receive ASM Public Communications Award

WASHINGTON, DC April 7, 2004 Two journalists from Science magazine have been named the recipients of the American Society for Microbiology 2004 Public Communications Award. The winning entry, written by Martin Enserink and Dennis Normile, is a two-part series, "SARS in China." It focuses on China's initial denial of the emerging epidemic and insistence that the cause was the Chlamydia bacterium despite research showing otherwise, and it provides an in-depth look at where the virus originated and how it developed in humans.

Now in its ninth year, the award recognizes outstanding achievement in increasing public awareness, knowledge, and understanding of microbiology. The recipients will be presented with a $2,500 honorarium and a plaque during the 104th General Meeting of the ASM in New Orleans, LA, May 24, 2004.

The judges were unanimous in stating that the series "really goes behind the scenes in explaining China's late response to SARS." One judge noted it was, "well told, timely, and important." They also thought that the series accurately conveyed how the field of microbiology in China has changed as a result of SARS.

In the series' first article, "China's Missed Chance" (July 18, 2003, p. 394), the writers detail China's attempt to cover up the emergence of SARS and question why a senior microbiologist and his team failed to report their findings linking SARS to the coronavirus. Now that the region has been declared SARS free, the writers say Chinese researchers are reeling at the missed opportunity to show off China's advanced scientific capabilities. The article goes on to explain the changes that have subsequently occurred in China's approach to the study of microbiology.

The second half of the series, "Tracking the Roots of a Killer" (July 18, 2003 p. 297), addresses the question of where SARS originated and how that information may prevent the disease from reemerging. It explores the markets of Sh
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Contact: Carrie Patterson
cpatterson@asmusa.org
202-942-9389
American Society for Microbiology
7-Apr-2004


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