Syphilis. Rabies. Ebola. While you’d probably not like to get any of these, the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control has turned a host of sicknesses into manga-type characters to raise awareness.
As Hachima reports, the Taiwan CDC has brought in talented artists to bring these horrible diseases to life as a way to inform the population. Most recently, for example, covid-19 got personified.
“Because covid-19 snuck into each country without notice, I decided to draw it to resemble a hacker,” artist Chiyou told The South China Morning Post. “There are lots of arms behind the character’s back,” he added. “They are the protein spikes the coronavirus uses to latch onto animal or human cells and infect them.” Chiyou even added a crown to imply that the character was a coronavirus.
The Taiwan CDC has released a calendar filled with illustrations of diseases, with information about each in the illustration’s profile. The illustrations have also been used for Disease magazine, with tips on how to stay healthy.
Artist Hana, who did the art for syphilis (above) and rubella, said it was a challenge to create art that merges both attractive personifications with unpleasant symptoms. Taiwan News reports that this is why she decided to base syphilis, which is named after a mythical shepherd, as a shepherdess with a phallus on the character’s corset and red dots, representing a red rash, on the sleeves.
“Turning diseases into characters can attract people’s attention,” said Tsao Kai-ling of the Taiwan CDC. “People are more willing to stop and read about these cartoons.”
Have a look at more illustrations below.
And finally, a personification of quarantining.