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Public Health Lessons from Virtual Game Worlds

Posted Tue, Jan 15, 2008 by Aelryn

Corrupted blood is spreading! Arrrgh!

The Bulletin Online posted a story which examines the infamous corrupted blood plague in World of Warcraft and considers how virtual worlds could potentially be a useful testing ground for studying epidemics.

Despite the virtual nature of the epidemic, important insights were gained from the event. For example, participants exhibited behaviors such as altruism, fear, and curiosity. Many came online just to see what was going on before quickly logging off. Unfortunately, the outbreak, which lasted five days, was over before Lofgren and Fefferman could get access to the real-time data. Regardless, they were able to demonstrate the usefulness of studying and modeling similar virtual events in the future.

Read more at The Bulletin.


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