Background

Literature on the political dimensions of the epidemic remains exceedingly sparse. The microbiologist Elizabeth Prescott argued that the SARS epidemic illustrates the increasingly acute nature of complex interdependence among countries in the domain of public health, and provides us with lessons that may help countries in their efforts to prevent bioterrorist attacks. She observed that the emergence of the contagion "illuminated significant and vital weaknesses in global and local preparedness for surprise outbreaks."6 The political scientists Melissa Curley and Nicholas Thomas argued that infectious diseases (the SARS outbreak in particular) represented a significant and growing threat to human security in Southeast Asia. The legal scholar David Fidler has also conceptualized SARS as a threat to the material interests of the state, which aligns with the republican Realist model presented in this work.7 The emergence of the SARS pathogen in China and later in Canada demonstrates that both developing and highly developed countries remain vulnerable to emerging and re-emerging pathogens. Despite the (erroneous) Galenic notion that infectious disease arises solely from and within poor countries, and is only a scourge of the poor, SARS illustrates that disease is not simply a product of the inequitable distribution of wealth. In reality, SARS emerged to take advantage of specific changes in the relationship between its natural reservoirs and the human ecology of

Southeast Asia. Its proliferation in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Toronto and illustrates the principal that developed countries are not immune to the deleterious effects of novel epidemic disease agents.

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