The Zika virus (ZIKV) outbreak in the Americas in 2015-2016 posed a novel global threat. Timely information about the spread of the disease is paramount to public health bodies issuing travel advisories. This paper looks at the online interaction with a national travel health website during the outbreak and compares this to trends in internet searches and news media output.
The study showed an amplification of perceived risk among users of a national travel health website. This suggests a potential value for tools to detect changes in online information seeking behaviours for predicting periods of high demand where the routine capability of travel health services could be exceeded.
BMJ Open. 2017 Aug 31;7(8):e015831.
Early detection of perceived risk among users of a UK travel health website compared with internet search activity and media coverage during the 2015-2016 Zika virus outbreak: an observational study.
Petersen J, Simons H, Patel D, Freedman J.