The presence of a sick individual may induce two contradictory reactions in observers. On the one hand, empathy, sympathy, and compassion may arise and, thus, the motivation to help the sufferer. On the other hand, observers may feel disgust and, thus, might be motivated to avoid the sufferer. […] The paper addresses the question of how these conflicting emotions and motivations may bring about adaptive behavioral reactions toward a sick individual.
Steinkopf, L. (2017). Disgust, Empathy, and Care of the Sick: An Evolutionary Perspective. Evolutionary Psychological Science, 3(2), 149-158.