Hyderabad: Days after a huge uproar against authors and publishers of a prominent medical reference book blaming the Tablighi Jamaat community for “an explosive outbreak” of COVID-19 with over 4,000 cases, they have now apologized and even committed to delete the offensive paragraphs in a reprint edition soon.
The reference book titled “Essentials of Medical Microbiology”, meant for second-year MBBS students, written by prominent medico-authors Dr Apurba S. Sastry and & Dr Sandhya Bhat, with a foreword by Pallabh Ray & Sujatha Sistla hit the markets recently.
“This is highly insensitive to portray a community as guilty of spreading a disease,” wrote Dr. Aqsa Shaikh, who sought apology from the publishers early this week.
In a statement, authors Apurva Shastry and Sandhya Bhat apologized for inadvertently hurting the sentiments of a group of people. “The intention was only to convey epidemiology timelines; nothing else. Medical literature addresses other epidemiological time points of various infectious diseases: for example as Cholera and leptospirosis spreading following Kumbh Mela,” the statement read.
However, Dr. Shaikh said that promising that the reprints will delete the mention of Tablighi Jamaat is not sufficient.
“While writing about disease epidemiology, one needs to be sensitive to implications of Geographical, Religious, gender or sexual discrimination. The classic example of Typhoid Mary is in front of us. In the HIV epidemic we saw how Gay men were targeted. And Delhi Superbug! There is a reason why WHO didn’t name COVID as Wuhan Virus. I hope I don’t have to explain this to a microbiologist especially when the association of a religious group and disease is factually incorrect in this case,” she wrote.