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Infodemics

This guide stores information and resources related to infodemiology

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Infodemics

“We’re not just fighting an epidemic, we’re fighting an infodemic.” 

WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus,

Infodemiology

Infodemiology can be defined as the science of distribution and determinants of information in an electronic medium, specifically the Internet, or in a population, with the ultimate aim to inform public health and public policy. Examples for infodemiology applications include:

  • the analysis of queries from Internet search engines to predict disease outbreaks (eg. influenza);
  • monitoring peoples' status updates on microblogs such as Twitter for syndromic surveillance;
  • detecting and quantifying disparities in health information availability;
  • identifying and monitoring of public health relevant publications on the Internet (eg. anti-vaccination sites, but also news articles or expert-curated outbreak reports);
  • automated tools to measure information diffusion and knowledge translation, and tracking the effectiveness of health marketing campaigns1

1.            Eysenbach G. Infodemiology and Infoveillance: Framework for an Emerging Set of Public Health Informatics Methods to Analyze Search, Communication and Publication Behavior on the Internet. J Med Internet Res. 2009;11(1):e11.

Misinformation

Mis- and disinformation can be harmful to people’s physical and mental health; increase stigmatization; threaten precious health gains; and lead to poor observance of public health measures, thus reducing their effectiveness and endangering countries’ ability to stop the pandemic.

Misinformation costs lives. Without the appropriate trust and correct information, diagnostic tests go unused, immunization campaigns (or campaigns to promote effective vaccines) will not meet their targets, and the virus will continue to thrive.

"False information that is spread, regardless of intent to mislead.” Put a flag in the second half of this definition; it will be important later." Dictionary.com

MidInformation

MidInformation: Informational ambiguity based on scant or conflicting evidence, often about emerging scientific knowledge.

-An Xiao Mina August 5, 2020

Disinformation

"Disinformation is polarizing public debate on topics related to COVID-19; amplifying hate speech; heightening the risk of conflict, violence and human rights violations; and threatening long-terms prospects for advancing democracy, human rights and social cohesion."

"Deliberately misleading" Dictionary.com

Infodemic Management

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