Virtual Zika Transmission after the first US Case: Who said What and How It Spread on Twitter

Vijaykumar, Santosh, Nowak, Glen, Himelboim, Itai and Jin, Yan (2018) Virtual Zika Transmission after the first US Case: Who said What and How It Spread on Twitter. American Journal of Infection Control, 46 (5). pp. 549-557. ISSN 0196-6553

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajic.2017.10.015

Abstract

Background: This paper goes beyond detecting specific themes within Zika-related chatter on Twitter, to identify the key actors who influence the diffusive process through which some themes are more
amplified than others are.

Methods: We collected all Zika-related tweets during the three months immediately after the first U.S. case of Zika. Following categorization into twelve themes, a cross-section of tweets were grouped into weekly datasets to capture 12 amplifier/user groups and analysed by four
amplification modes: mentions, retweets, talkers, and twitter-wide amplifiers.

Results: We analysed 3,057,130 tweets in the US and categorized 4,997 users. The most talked about theme was Zika transmission (~58%). News media, public health institutions and grassroots users were the most
visible and frequent sources and disseminators of Zika-related Twitter content. Grassroots users were the primary source and disseminators of conspiracy theories.

Discussion & Conclusions: Social media analytics enable public health institutions to quickly learn what information is being disseminated, and by whom, regarding infectious diseases. Such information can help public
health institutions identify and engage with news media and other active information providers. It also provides insights into media and public concerns, accuracy of information on Twitter, and information gaps that
may exist. The study identifies implications for pandemic preparedness and response in the digital era and presents the agenda for future research and practice.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: B900 Others in Subjects allied to Medicine
P300 Media studies
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Psychology
Depositing User: Santosh Vijaykumar
Date Deposited: 07 Feb 2018 11:43
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2019 11:15
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/32444

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