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Virtual plagues and real-world pandemics: reflecting on the potential for online computer role-playing games to inform real world epidemic research
  1. Stuart Oultram
  1. Correspondence to Dr Stuart Oultram, Department of Health Services Research, Institute of Psychology, Health, and Society, University of Liverpool, The Waterhouse Building, Brownlow Street, Liverpool L69 3GL, UK; stuart.oultram{at}


In the wake of the Corrupted Blood incident, which afflicted the massively multiplayer online computer role-playing game World of Warcraft in 2005, it has been suggested that both, the incident itself and massively multiplayer online computer role-playing games in general, can be utilised to inform and assist real-world epidemic and public health research. In this paper, I engage critically with these claims.

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