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Infectious disease outbreaks are associated with substantial stigma, which can have negative effects on affected persons and communities and on outbreak control. Thus, measuring stigma in a standardized and validated manner early in an outbreak is critical to disease control. We reviewed existing scales used to assess stigma during outbreaks. Our findings show that many different scales have been developed, but few have been used more than once, have been adequately validated, or have been tested in different disease and geographic contexts. We found that scales were usually developed too slowly to be informative early during an outbreak and were published a median of 2 years after the first case of an outbreak. A rigorously developed, transferable stigma scale is needed to assess and direct responses to stigma during infectious disease outbreaks.

Original publication




Journal article


Emerg Infect Dis

Publication Date





519 - 529


COVID-19, Ebola virus, HIV/AIDS and other retroviruses, communicable diseases, disease outbreaks, epidemics, prejudice, social discrimination, social marginalization, social stigma, Humans, Communicable Diseases, Disease Outbreaks, Social Stigma