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Criminalising contagion: the criminal law and disease transmission
  1. Hannah Quirk
  1. Correspondence to Dr Hannah Quirk, School of Law, University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL, UK; hannah.quirk{at}

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I am pleased to introduce this part of the first collaboration between BMJ journals Medical Humanities, Sexually Transmitted Infectionsi and Journal of Medical Ethicsii on the important theme of the criminalisation of disease transmission. I am grateful first to Debbie Kirklin, and then to Sue Eckstein for their guidance as editors. As well as bringing together scholarship for the diverse readership of these publications, these papers represent the first output of an Economic and Social Research Council-funded seminar series, Criminalising Contagion: Legal and Ethical Challenges of Disease Transmission and the Criminal Law,1 undertaken with my colleagues, Catherine Stanton and David Gurnham. This venture is the offspring of several projects stemming from the Centre for Social Ethics and Policy at the University of Manchester that have explored the developing intersection of healthcare and the criminal law.2 It is proving a fascinating area in which to work. We have a range of panellists with interdisciplinary and international expertise, including lawyers, public health practitioners, charity organisations and academics, many of whom will be familiar to readers of these journals and who have contributed to this BMJ collection.

Public health concerns, from sexually transmitted diseases to swine …

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  • iSee ‘Criminalising contagion’ theme section in the Sexually Transmitted Infections publication of Jun 2013, volume 89, issue 4, pages 274–294. This consists of 5 papers.

  • iiSee ‘Criminalising contagion' theme section in the Journal of Medical Ethics, in press.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.