Mentions: 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.
Affiliation: Department of Medicine, Reading Health System, Reading, Pennsylvania, USA E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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