New CDC campaign depicts diseases as unique characters to raise awareness

The CDC has a new campaign to raise awareness of infectious diseases. Do you find it hard to remember how different bugs are spread? Well, maybe this will help. The campaign depicts diseases found in Taiwan as unique characters. Their personalities are based on the specific qualities of the disease. Artist Quan Lo worked hard to make each character reflect its virus perfectly. But did she succeed? Let’s check it out.

A roster of cool characters, named after infectious diseases. With this fun and detailed drawing style, you might think it’s a new Japanese anime. But it’s a collaboration between the Taiwan CDC and artist Quan Lo, turning infections into memorable characters.

Quan Lo
Personally I focus on the individuality of the characters. Because I think a person’s character is reflected in their appearance and their dress, and everything else we can see about them, so I look at the symptoms of the disease, its causes, how it’s transmitted, and then I imagine what kind of personality this character might have.

The characters all had to match the diseases. Influenza is a rapper; novel influenza A virus is a man in a plague doctor costume; enterovirus is a child with a doll. Meanwhile, a glamorous widow is Dengue fever, with a pair of insect wings tattooed on her back and a poisonous devil’s trumpet flower in her hand to symbolize its deadliness. The diseases are now alluring characters, but personifying a virus is not easy. All the details of dress and character had to be linked somehow to the condition. Lo has a demanding day job and spent her evenings on the illustrations, sometimes running into serious challenges.

Quan Lo
I couldn’t imagine how some characters should express themselves. For example, influenza: for me, everything about it is too abstract. I get inspired more easily when I talk to other people. I think talking to people is how I solve problems.

This is the CDC’s latest campaign to spread public health knowledge, raising medical awareness and creating fun along the way.
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