Brief Report| Volume 46, ISSUE 7, P843-845, July 2018

Amplification of perceived risk among users of a national travel health Web site during the 2013-2016 West African Ebola virus outbreak

Published:January 02, 2018DOI:


      • Timely information was key to the travel health sector during the Ebola virus outbreak.
      • Data on information seeking behaviors carry potential for surveillance.
      • Traffic to a travel health Web site showed early and sustained interest in the outbreak.
      • This suggests potential for a syndromic surveillance system.
      Timely outbreak information was paramount to public health bodies issuing travel advisories during the 2013-2016 West Africa Ebola virus outbreak. This article explores the potential for a syndromic system/Shewhart control chart based on the online interaction with a national travel health Web site in comparison with searches on the Google UK search engine. The study showed an amplification of perceived risk among users of a national travel health Web site months before the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern and the initial surge in public interest on Google UK in August 2014.

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