In 2014, Twitter announced Ebola outbreak three days before the official declaration. Around 60 million people received tweets regarding the deadly epidemic.
Nowadays, social networking sites are the fastest means to share news. Users can share images, news, opinion and ideas through it.
Recently, researchers from Columbia University School of Nursing investigate the role of Twitter in Ebola. They carefully looked at tweets posted during the first week of Ebola. They uncovered that more 42,000 tweets were posted from 24ht July to 1st August 2014. ,500 tweets were unique, whereas 25,500 were retweets. The team also analyzed distribution, timings, language and content of the tweets.
Surprisingly, the study reveals that 1,500 tweets were circulated before the Nigerian Ministry announced the outbreak. It signifies that roughly four billion users shared news related to Ebola cases. Symptoms, location of Ebola, prevention and risk factors were the main topics of the tweets.
Furthermore, researchers found that number of Twitter users in African countries has nearly doubled in past two weeks. Therefore, the social networking site can be used to educate public regarding health issues.
The paper is published in the latest edition of American Journal of Infection Control.