The West African 2014 Ebola outbreak has highlighted the need for a better information network. Hybrid information networks, an integration of both hierarchical and formalized command control-driven and community-based, or ad hoc emerging networks, could assist in improving public health responses. By filling the missing gaps with social media use, the public health response could be more proactive rather than reactive in responding to such an outbreak of global concern. This article provides a review of the current social media use specifically in this outbreak by systematically collecting data from ProQuest Newsstand, Dow Jones Factiva, Program for Monitoring Emerging Diseases (ProMED) as well as Google Trends. The period studied is from 19 March 2014 (first request for information on ProMED) to 15 October 2014, a total of 31 weeks. The term 'Ebola' was used in the search for media reports. The outcome of the review shows positive results for social media use in effective surveillance response mechanisms - for improving the detection, preparedness and response of the outbreak - as a complement to traditional, filed, work-based surveillance approach.
- Disease surveillance
- Social media