|LETTER TO EDITOR
|Year : 2015 | Volume
| Issue : 6 | Page : 297
Ebola paranoia in the age of the internet and social media
Ranjan Pathak1, Smith Giri2, Nabin Shrestha3
1 Department of Medicine, Reading Health System, Reading, Pennsylvania, USA
2 Department of Medicine, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, Tennessee, USA
3 Department of Infectious Disease, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, Ohio, USA
|Date of Web Publication||25-Jun-2015|
Department of Medicine, Reading Health System, Reading, Pennsylvania
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Pathak R, Giri S, Shrestha N. Ebola paranoia in the age of the internet and social media. North Am J Med Sci 2015;7:297
Concerns have been raised regarding the difficulties of communicating uncertainty without increasing fear and paranoia by citing the recent events related to the Ebola virus disease.  In today's age, the Internet and social media have become important sources of information for the general public. Concerns have been raised about undue public panic and hysteria being spread through the Internet and social media.  Using Google Trends (Google Inc., Mountain View, CA, USA),  we examined the temporal trend of search volume for the term "Ebola" from September 1, 2014 to November 6, 2014. We observed four distinct peaks in the search volumes surrounding the news of four cases of Ebola diagnosis in the US [Figure 1].  Analysis of the location of the search query revealed that four of the top five cities being monitored for Ebola were from the US. With the rise of the Internet and social media as the go-to sources of information, it is important for public health agencies to have greater Internet and social media presence, so as to properly disseminate the information (or the lack of it) and prevent undue fear and paranoia.
| References|| |
Rosenbaum L. Communicating uncertainty - Ebola, public health, and the scientific process. N Engl J Med 2015;372:7-9.