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1.
BMC Infect Dis ; 22(1): 806, 2022 Oct 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2098320

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic affects common diseases, but its impact on hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) is unclear. Google Trends data is beneficial for approximate real-time statistics and because of ease in access, is expected to be used for infection explanation from an information-seeking behavior perspective. We aimed to explain HFMD cases before and during COVID-19 using Google Trends. METHODS: HFMD cases were obtained from the National Institute of Infectious Diseases, and Google search data from 2009 to 2021 in Japan were downloaded from Google Trends. Pearson correlation coefficients were calculated between HFMD cases and the search topic "HFMD" from 2009 to 2021. Japanese tweets containing "HFMD" were retrieved to select search terms for further analysis. Search terms with counts larger than 1000 and belonging to ranges of infection sources, susceptible sites, susceptible populations, symptoms, treatment, preventive measures, and identified diseases were retained. Cross-correlation analyses were conducted to detect lag changes between HFMD cases and search terms before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Multiple linear regressions with backward elimination processing were used to identify the most significant terms for HFMD explanation. RESULTS: HFMD cases and Google search volume peaked around July in most years, excluding 2020 and 2021. The search topic "HFMD" presented strong correlations with HFMD cases, except in 2020 when the COVID-19 outbreak occurred. In addition, the differences in lags for 73 (72.3%) search terms were negative, which might indicate increasing public awareness of HFMD infections during the COVID-19 pandemic. The results of multiple linear regression demonstrated that significant search terms contained the same meanings but expanded informative search content during the COVID-19 pandemic. CONCLUSIONS: The significant terms for the explanation of HFMD cases before and during COVID-19 were different. Awareness of HFMD infections in Japan may have improved during the COVID-19 pandemic. Continuous monitoring is important to promote public health and prevent resurgence. The public interest reflected in information-seeking behavior can be helpful for public health surveillance.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease , Mouth Diseases , Humans , COVID-19/epidemiology , Pandemics , Japan/epidemiology , Search Engine , Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease/epidemiology , Infodemiology
2.
Embase; 27.
Preprint in English | EMBASE | ID: ppcovidwho-346615

ABSTRACT

Background: COVID-19 pandemic affected common disease infections, while the impact on hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) is unclear. Google Trends data is beneficial in approximately real-time statistics and easily accessed, expecting to be used for infection explanation from information-seeking behavior perspectives. We aimed to explain HFMD cases before and during COVID-19 using Google Trends data. Method(s): HFMD cases were obtained from the National Institute of Infectious Disease, and Google search data from 2009 to 2021 was downloaded using Google Trends in Japan. Pearson correlation coefficients were calculated between HFMD cases and the search topic "HFMD" from 2009 to 2021. Japanese tweets containing "HFMD" were retrieved to select search terms for further analysis. Search terms were retained with counts larger than 1000 and belonging to ranges of infection sources, susceptible sites, susceptible populations, symptoms, treatment, preventive measures, and identified diseases. Cross-correlation analyses were conducted to detect lag changes between HFMD cases and HFMD search terms before and during COVID-19. Multiple linear regressions with backward elimination processing were used to identify the most significant terms for HFMD explanation. Result(s): HFMD cases and Google search volume peaked around July in most years without 2020 and 2021. The search topic "HFMD" presented strong correlations with HFMD cases except in 2020 when COVID-19 outbroke. In addition, differences in lags for 73 (72.3%) search terms were negative, might indicating increasing public awareness of HFMD infections during the COVID-19 pandemic. Results of multiple linear regression demonstrated that significant search terms contained the same meanings but expanded informative search content during COVID-19. Conclusion(s): Significant terms for HFMD cases explanation before and during COVID-19 were different. The awareness of HFMD infection in Japan may improve during the COVID-19 pandemic. Continuous monitoring is important to promote public health and prevent resurgence. Public interest reflected in information-seeking behavior can be helpful for public health surveillance. Copyright The copyright holder for this preprint is the author/funder, who has granted medRxiv a license to display the preprint in perpetuity. It is made available under a CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 International license.

3.
Folia Med Cracov ; 62(2): 71-92, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2081393

ABSTRACT

I n t r o d u c t i o n: The COVID-19 pandemic has put healthcare systems worldwide under huge strain, resulting in a significant loss of their capacity and availability. Patients have become more reluctant to contact their doctors or call an ambulance in case of myocardial infarction (MI) symptoms onset. It has been accompanied by a significant decrease in the number of coronary angiography and PCI procedures performed. O b j e c t i v e s: The aim of the study is to evaluate the role of online health information in the patient- dependent phase of MI management during the COVID-19 lockdown in Europe. Methods: We analyzed Google Trends data on the popularity of phrases related to MI symptoms, respiratory tract infection, urological complaints, and terms unrelated to health, for the period of the first COVID-19 lockdown, along with the data from the corresponding weeks from 2017-2019 in seven European countries. R e s u l t s: The search volume for particular symptoms of myocardial infarction increased in all studied countries, compared to the analogous period from 2017-2019, with a significant increase in for chest pain, shortness of breath, fear, and palpitations in most countries. These changes have not been accompanied by increased interest in terms related to respiratory tract infection symptoms and urological complaints. C o n c l u s i o n s: Our findings suggest that during lockdown, patients with MI symptoms may have tried to manage their complaints on their own, using information from the Internet. This demonstrates the growing role of the Internet in the patient's decision-making process in the emergency situation, indicating a growing need for reliable and freely available online information provided by healthcare professionals.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Myocardial Infarction , Percutaneous Coronary Intervention , Humans , COVID-19/epidemiology , Pandemics , Communicable Disease Control , Myocardial Infarction/epidemiology , Myocardial Infarction/therapy , Europe/epidemiology
4.
J Prev Med Hyg ; 63(2): E292-E297, 2022 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2081079

ABSTRACT

Introduction: Viral hepatitis remains a public health concern worldwide, mainly in developing countries. The public's awareness and interest in viral hepatitis information are essential in preventing and controlling this disease. Infodemiology has been used as a surrogate to assess the general understanding of disease and measure public awareness of health topics. However, this analysis has not been applied to viral hepatitis. Thus, this study investigated the online global search interest for viral hepatitis in the last decade, focusing on the period before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: Global online search interest for hepatitis was measured using the Google Trends™ database. Spearman's rank-order correlation correlated country-specific characteristics and prevalence data with search volume index. Results: There was a significant reduction in online search interest for hepatitis during the COVID-19 pandemic (2020). People searching for hepatitis are also interested in hepatitis vaccination. Search volume index is positively correlated with viral hepatitis and HIV prevalence and negatively correlated with GDP. This correlation mirrors the high burden of viral hepatitis in developing countries and their citizens' desire to be informed about this disease. Conclusions: Our study found decreased global online interest in viral hepatitis during the pandemic. Moreover, higher online interest in hepatitis was observed in countries with a lower gross domestic product and high viral hepatitis and HIV prevalence. We demonstrated that global online interest toward viral hepatitis could be assessed through the infodemiologic approach using Google Trends™.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , HIV Infections , Hepatitis, Viral, Human , HIV Infections/epidemiology , Hepatitis, Viral, Human/epidemiology , Hepatitis, Viral, Human/prevention & control , Humans , Infodemiology , Information Seeking Behavior , Pandemics
5.
JMIR Form Res ; 6(11): e38794, 2022 Nov 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2079985

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Misinformation is often disseminated through social media, where information is spread rapidly and easily. Misinformation affects many patients' decisions to follow a treatment prescribed by health professionals (HPs). For example, chronic patients (eg, those with diabetes) may not follow their prescribed treatment plans. During the recent pandemic, misinformed people rejected COVID-19 vaccines and public health measures, such as masking and physical distancing, and used unproven treatments. OBJECTIVE: This study investigated the impact of health-threatening misinformation on the practices of health care professionals in the United Kingdom, especially during the outbreaks of diseases where a great amount of health-threatening misinformation is produced and released. The study examined the misinformation surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak to determine how it may have impacted practitioners' perceptions of misinformation and how that may have influenced their practice. In particular, this study explored the answers to the following questions: How do HPs react when they learn that a patient has been misinformed? What misinformation do they believe has the greatest impact on medical practice? What aspects of change and intervention in HPs' practice are in response to misinformation? METHODS: This research followed a qualitative approach to collect rich data from a smaller subset of health care practitioners working in the United Kingdom. Data were collected through 1-to-1 online interviews with 13 health practitioners, including junior and senior physicians and nurses in the United Kingdom. RESULTS: Research findings indicated that HPs view misinformation in different ways according to the scenario in which it occurs. Some HPs consider it to be an acute incident exacerbated by the pandemic, while others see it as an ongoing phenomenon (always present) and address it as part of their daily work. HPs are developing pathways for dealing with misinformation. Two main pathways were identified: first, to educate the patient through coaching, advising, or patronizing and, second, to devote resources, such as time and effort, to facilitate 2-way communication between the patient and the health care provider through listening and talking to them. CONCLUSIONS: HPs do not receive the confidence they deserve from patients. The lack of trust in health care practitioners has been attributed to several factors, including (1) trusting alternative sources of information (eg, social media) (2) patients' doubts about HPs' experience (eg, a junior doctor with limited experience), and (3) limited time and availability for patients, especially during the pandemic. There are 2 dimensions of trust: patient-HP trust and patient-information trust. There are 2 necessary actions to address the issue of lack of trust in these dimensions: (1) building trust and (2) maintaining trust. The main recommendations of the HPs are to listen to patients, give them more time, and seek evidence-based resources.

6.
J Med Internet Res ; 24(10): e38949, 2022 10 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2074602

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Given the widespread and concerted efforts to propagate health misinformation on social media, particularly centered around vaccination during the pandemic, many groups of clinicians and scientists were organized on social media to tackle misinformation and promote vaccination, using a national or international lens. Although documenting the impact of such social media efforts, particularly at the community level, can be challenging, a more hyperlocal or "place-based approach" for social media campaigns could be effective in tackling misinformation and improving public health outcomes at a community level. OBJECTIVE: We aimed to describe and document the effectiveness of a place-based strategy for a coordinated group of Chicago health care workers on social media to tackle misinformation and improve vaccination rates in the communities they serve. METHODS: The Illinois Medical Professionals Action Collaborative Team (IMPACT) was founded in March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with representatives from major academic teaching hospitals in Chicago (eg, University of Chicago, Northwestern University, University of Illinois, and Rush University) and community-based organizations. Through crowdsourcing on multiple social media platforms (eg, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) with a place-based approach, IMPACT engaged grassroots networks of thousands of Illinois health care workers and the public to identify gaps, needs, and viewpoints to improve local health care delivery during the pandemic. RESULTS: To address vaccine misinformation, IMPACT created 8 "myth debunking" infographics and a "vaccine information series" of 14 infographics that have generated >340,000 impressions and informed the development of vaccine education for the Chicago Public Libraries. IMPACT delivered 13 policy letters focusing on different topics, such as health care worker personal protective equipment, universal masking, and vaccination, with >4000 health care workers signatures collected through social media and delivered to policy makers; it published over 50 op-eds on COVID-19 topics in high-impact news outlets and contributed to >200 local and national news features. Using the crowdsourcing approach on IMPACT social media channels, IMPACT mobilized health care and lay volunteers to staff >400 vaccine events for >120,000 individuals, many in Chicago's hardest-hit neighborhoods. The group's recommendations have influenced public health awareness campaigns and initiatives, as well as research, advocacy, and policy recommendations, and they have been recognized with local and national awards. CONCLUSIONS: A coordinated group of health care workers on social media, using a hyperlocal place-based approach, can not only work together to address misinformation but also collaborate to boost vaccination rates in their surrounding communities.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Social Media , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Health Personnel , Humans , Pandemics/prevention & control , Power, Psychological , Trust , Vaccination
7.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 19(20)2022 Oct 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2071455

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Google Trends has turned out to be an appropriate tool for evaluating correlations and prognostic modelling regarding infectious diseases. The possibility of selecting a vaccine against COVID-19 has increased social interest in particular vaccines. The objective of this study was to show dependencies between the frequency of searches for COVID-19 vaccinations and the number of vaccinated people in Poland, along with epidemiological data. METHODS: Data were collected regarding Google searches for COVID-19 vaccines, the number of people in Poland vaccinated against COVID-19, the number of new cases, and the number of deaths due to COVID-19. Data were filtered from 27 December 2020 to 1 September 2021. RESULTS: The number of new vaccinations smoothed per million correlated most strongly with searches for the word 'Pfizer' in Google Trends (Kendall's tau = 0.46, p < 0.001). The number of new deaths correlated most strongly with the search phrase 'AstraZeneca' (Kendall's tau = 0.46, p < 0.001). The number of new cases per million correlated most strongly with searches for 'AstraZeneca' (Kendall's tau = 0.49, p < 0.001). The maximum daily number of searches ranged between 110 and 130. A significant interest in COVID-19 vaccines was observed from February to June 2021, i.e., in the period of a considerable increase in the number of new cases and new deaths due to COVID-19. CONCLUSIONS: A significant increase in interest in COVID-19 vaccines was observed from February to June 2021, i.e., in the period of gradually extended access to vaccinations, as well as a considerable increase in the number of new cases and new deaths due to COVID-19. The use of Google Trends with relevant keywords and a comparison with the course of the COVID-19 pandemic facilitates evaluation of the relationship between the frequency and types of searches for COVID-19 vaccines and epidemiological data.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19 , Humans , COVID-19 Vaccines/therapeutic use , Pandemics/prevention & control , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Poland/epidemiology , Search Engine
8.
Acta Medica Peruana ; 39(2):198-204, 2022.
Article in Spanish | EMBASE | ID: covidwho-2067674

ABSTRACT

In February 2020, at the time the COVID-19 pandemic was declared, the World Health Organization warned of massive infodemics, that is, a large amount of information that in some cases may be correct (in other cases not), and that may make it difficult for people to find reliable sources and appropriate guidance when required. Infodemics is spreading extremely fast, particularly with the rise of social media. Infodemiology is the science studying the distribution and determinants of information in electronic media, such as Internet, or in a population, for the purpose of informing on public health and public policies. During the period from 2002 to 2021, 484 publications on infodemiology were registered in the MEDLINE database (via PubMed), and 71.9% of the publications (348/484) appeared during 2020 and 2021. Just as the fast spread of epidemics may be controlled if acting on a timely fashion, infodemics may also be mitigated. However, there are challenges that add an additional burden in management of pandemics, and therefore there is an urgent need to educate the population and implement training programs for healthcare workers aiming to efficiently manage infodemics. The objective of this special paper is to describe the challenges for managing health infodemics in COVID-19 times.

9.
JMIR Public Health Surveill ; 8(10): e38153, 2022 Oct 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2065310

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Vaccination is one of the most successful public health interventions for the prevention of COVID-19. Toward the end of April 2021, UNICEF (United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund), alongside other organizations, were promoting the hashtag #VaccinesWork. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this paper is to analyze the #VaccinesWork hashtag on Twitter in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, analyzing the main messages shared and the organizations involved. METHODS: The data set used in this study consists of 11,085 tweets containing the #VaccinesWork hashtag from the 29th to the 30th of April 2021. The data set includes tweets that may not have the hashtag but were replies or mentions in those tweets. The data were retrieved using NodeXL, and the network graph was laid out using the Harel-Koren fast multiscale layout algorithm. RESULTS: The study found that organizations such as the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and Gavi were the key opinion leaders and had a big influence on the spread of information among users. Furthermore, the most shared URLs belonged to academic journals with a high impact factor. Provaccination users had other vaccination-promoting hashtags in common, not only in the COVID-19 scenario. CONCLUSIONS: This study investigated the discussions surrounding the #VaccinesWork hashtag. Social media networks containing conspiracy theories tend to contain dubious accounts leading the discussions and are often linked to unverified information. This kind of analysis can be useful to detect the optimal moment for launching health campaigns on Twitter.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Social Media , Child , Humans , Pandemics , Social Networking , Public Health
10.
J Med Internet Res ; 24(10): e37258, 2022 10 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2065305

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are common and costly, impacting approximately 1 in 5 people annually. Reddit, the sixth most used internet site in the world, is a user-generated social media discussion platform that may be useful in monitoring discussion about STD symptoms and exposure. OBJECTIVE: This study sought to define and identify patterns and insights into STD-related discussions on Reddit over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. METHODS: We extracted posts from Reddit from March 2019 through July 2021. We used a topic modeling method, Latent Dirichlet Allocation, to identify the most common topics discussed in the Reddit posts. We then used word clouds, qualitative topic labeling, and spline regression to characterize the content and distribution of the topics observed. RESULTS: Our extraction resulted in 24,311 total posts. Latent Dirichlet Allocation topic modeling showed that with 8 topics for each time period, we achieved high coherence values (pre-COVID-19=0.41, prevaccination=0.42, and postvaccination=0.44). Although most topic categories remained the same over time, the relative proportion of topics changed and new topics emerged. Spline regression revealed that some key terms had variability in the percentage of posts that coincided with pre-COVID-19 and post-COVID-19 periods, whereas others were uniform across the study periods. CONCLUSIONS: Our study's use of Reddit is a novel way to gain insights into STD symptoms experienced, potential exposures, testing decisions, common questions, and behavior patterns (eg, during lockdown periods). For example, reduction in STD screening may result in observed negative health outcomes due to missed cases, which also impacts onward transmission. As Reddit use is anonymous, users may discuss sensitive topics with greater detail and more freely than in clinical encounters. Data from anonymous Reddit posts may be leveraged to enhance the understanding of the distribution of disease and need for targeted outreach or screening programs. This study provides evidence in favor of establishing Reddit as having feasibility and utility to enhance the understanding of sexual behaviors, STD experiences, and needed health engagement with the public.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Sexually Transmitted Diseases , Social Media , Humans , COVID-19/epidemiology , Pandemics , Communicable Disease Control , Sexually Transmitted Diseases/epidemiology
11.
23rd IEEE International Conference on Information Reuse and Integration for Data Science, IRI 2022 ; : 178-183, 2022.
Article in English | Scopus | ID: covidwho-2063270

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in excess mortality globally and presented an unprecedented challenge to people's lives. Despite the benefits of getting a COVID-19 vaccine, there have been arguments against the available vaccines and vaccine hesitancy worldwide. In this work, we analyze the information published by the public on Reddit as a digital forum, using unsupervised natural language processing to discover useful insights from the collected data related to COVID-19 vaccines, and validate the results of our study using Google Trends. Our results show that the government's contributions to the vaccination process, vaccine side-effects, and opposition to vaccine mandate and lock-downs are the main concerns shared by the public on digital forums. Moreover, we provide our collected data publicly available for further infodemiology studies by researchers and practitioners. © 2022 IEEE.

12.
J Med Internet Res ; 24(10): e40408, 2022 10 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2054809

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The emergence of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and the necessary separation of populations have led to an unprecedented number of new social media users seeking information related to the pandemic. Currently, with an estimated 4.5 billion users worldwide, social media data offer an opportunity for near real-time analysis of large bodies of text related to disease outbreaks and vaccination. These analyses can be used by officials to develop appropriate public health messaging, digital interventions, educational materials, and policies. OBJECTIVE: Our study investigated and compared public sentiment related to COVID-19 vaccines expressed on 2 popular social media platforms-Reddit and Twitter-harvested from January 1, 2020, to March 1, 2022. METHODS: To accomplish this task, we created a fine-tuned DistilRoBERTa model to predict the sentiments of approximately 9.5 million tweets and 70 thousand Reddit comments. To fine-tune our model, our team manually labeled the sentiment of 3600 tweets and then augmented our data set through back-translation. Text sentiment for each social media platform was then classified with our fine-tuned model using Python programming language and the Hugging Face sentiment analysis pipeline. RESULTS: Our results determined that the average sentiment expressed on Twitter was more negative (5,215,830/9,518,270, 54.8%) than positive, and the sentiment expressed on Reddit was more positive (42,316/67,962, 62.3%) than negative. Although the average sentiment was found to vary between these social media platforms, both platforms displayed similar behavior related to the sentiment shared at key vaccine-related developments during the pandemic. CONCLUSIONS: Considering this similar trend in shared sentiment demonstrated across social media platforms, Twitter and Reddit continue to be valuable data sources that public health officials can use to strengthen vaccine confidence and combat misinformation. As the spread of misinformation poses a range of psychological and psychosocial risks (anxiety and fear, etc), there is an urgency in understanding the public perspective and attitude toward shared falsities. Comprehensive educational delivery systems tailored to a population's expressed sentiments that facilitate digital literacy, health information-seeking behavior, and precision health promotion could aid in clarifying such misinformation.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Social Media , Vaccines , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines , Humans , Sentiment Analysis
13.
Health Info Libr J ; 39(3): 207-224, 2022 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2052480

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: Increasing affordability, accessibility and penetration of internet services worldwide, have substantially changed the ways of gathering health-related information. This has led to the origin of concept infodemiology that allows the information to be collected and analysed in near real time. Globally, oral diseases affect nearly 3.5 billion people; thus, volume and profile of oral health searches would help in understanding specific community dental needs and formulation of pertinent oral health strategies. AIM: To review the published literature on infodemiological aspects of oral health and disease. METHODOLOGY: This scoping review was conducted in accordance with PRISMA-ScR guidelines. Electronic search engines (Google Scholar) and databases (PubMed, Web of science, Scopus) were searched from 2002 onwards. RESULTS: Thirty-eight articles were included in this review. The infodemiological studies for oral health and disease were mainly used in two domains. Out of 38 articles, 24 accessed the quality of available online information and 15 studied online oral health-related information seeking behaviour. CONCLUSION: The most commonly searched oral diseases were toothache, oral cancer, dental caries, periodontal disease, oral maxillofacial surgical procedures and paediatric oral diseases. Most of the studies belonged to developed countries and Google was the most researched search engine.


Subject(s)
Dental Caries , Oral Health , Child , Dental Caries/prevention & control , Humans , Infodemiology , Information Seeking Behavior , Internet , Search Engine
14.
J Med Internet Res ; 24(9): e40331, 2022 09 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2043358

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: There is a lot of misinformation about a potential protective role of nicotine against COVID-19 spread on Twitter despite significant evidence to the contrary. We need to examine the role of vape advocates in the dissemination of such information through the lens of the gatewatching framework, which posits that top users can amplify and exert a disproportionate influence over the dissemination of certain content through curating, sharing, or, in the case of Twitter, retweeting it, serving more as a vector for misinformation rather than the source. OBJECTIVE: This research examines the Twitter discourse at the intersection of COVID-19 and tobacco (1) to identify the extent to which the most outspoken contributors to this conversation self-identify as vaping advocates and (2) to understand how and to what extent these vape advocates serve as gatewatchers through disseminating content about a therapeutic role of tobacco, nicotine, or vaping against COVID-19. METHODS: Tweets about tobacco, nicotine, or vaping and COVID-19 (N=1,420,271) posted during the first 9 months of the pandemic (January-September 2020) were identified from within a larger corpus of tobacco-related tweets using validated keyword filters. The top posters (ie, tweeters and retweeters) were identified and characterized, along with the most shared Uniform Resource Locators (URLs), most used hashtags, and the 1000 most retweeted posts. Finally, we examined the role of both top users and vape advocates in retweeting the most retweeted posts about the therapeutic role of nicotine, tobacco, or vaping against COVID-19. RESULTS: Vape advocates comprised between 49.7% (n=81) of top 163 and 88% (n=22) of top 25 users discussing COVID-19 and tobacco on Twitter. Content about the ability of tobacco, nicotine, or vaping to treat or prevent COVID-19 was disseminated broadly, accounting for 22.5% (n=57) of the most shared URLs and 10% (n=107) of the most retweeted tweets. Finally, among top users, retweets comprised an average of 78.6% of the posts from vape advocates compared to 53.1% from others (z=3.34, P<.001). Vape advocates were also more likely to retweet the top tweeted posts about a therapeutic role of nicotine, with 63% (n=51) of vape advocates retweeting at least 1 post compared to 40.3% (n=29) of other top users (z=2.80, P=.01). CONCLUSIONS: Provaping users dominated discussions of tobacco use during the COVID-19 pandemic on Twitter and were instrumental in disseminating the most retweeted posts about a potential therapeutic role of tobacco use against the virus. Subsequent research is needed to better understand the extent of this influence and how to mitigate the influence of vape advocates over the broader narrative of tobacco regulation on Twitter.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Social Media , Communication , Humans , Nicotine , Pandemics
15.
JMIR Form Res ; 6(9): e36525, 2022 Sep 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2029897

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Recently, the use of telehealth for patient treatment under the COVID-19 pandemic has gained interest around the world. As a result, many infodemiology and infoveillance studies using web-based sources such as Google Trends were reported, focusing on the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although public interest in telehealth has increased in many countries during this time, the long-term interest has remained unknown among people living in Japan. Moreover, various mobile telehealth apps have become available for remote areas in the COVID-19 era, but the accessibility of these apps in epidemic versus nonepidemic regions is unknown. OBJECTIVE: We aimed to investigate the public interest in telehealth during the first pandemic wave and after the wave in the first part of this study, and the accessibility of medical institutions using telehealth in the epidemic and nonepidemic regions, in the second part. METHODS: We examined and compared the first wave and after the wave with regards to severe cases, number of deaths, relative search volume (RSV) of telehealth and COVID-19, and the correlation between RSV and COVID-19 cases, using open sources such as Google Trends and the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (JMHLW) data. The weekly mean and the week-over-week change rates of RSV and COVID-19 cases were used to examine the correlation coefficients. In the second part, the prevalence of COVID-19 cases, severe cases, number of deaths, and the telehealth accessibility rate were compared between epidemic regions and nonepidemic regions, using the JMHLW data. We also examined the regional correlation between telehealth accessibility and the prevalence of COVID-19 cases. RESULTS: Among the 83 weeks with 5 pandemic waves, the overall mean for the RSV of telehealth and COVID-19 was 11.3 (95% CI 8.0-14.6) and 30.7 (95% CI 27.2-34.2), respectively. The proportion of severe cases (26.54% vs 18.16%; P<.001), deaths (5.33% vs 0.99%; P<.001), RSV of telehealth (mean 33.1, 95% CI 16.2-50.0 vs mean 7.3, 95% CI 6.7-8.0; P<.001), and RSV of COVID-19 (mean 52.1, 95% CI 38.3-65.9 vs mean 26.3, 95% CI 24.4-29.2; P<.001) was significantly higher in the first wave compared to after the wave. In the correlation analysis, the public interest in telehealth was 0.899 in the first wave and -0.300 overall. In Japan, the accessibility of telehealth using mobile apps was significantly higher in epidemic regions compared to nonepidemic regions in both hospitals (3.8% vs 2.0%; P=.004) and general clinics (5.2% vs 3.1%; P<.001). In the regional correlation analysis, telehealth accessibility using mobile apps was 0.497 in hospitals and 0.629 in general clinics. CONCLUSIONS: Although there was no long-term correlation between the public interest in telehealth and COVID-19, there was a regional correlation between mobile telehealth app accessibility in Japan, especially for general clinics. We also revealed that epidemic regions had higher mobile telehealth app accessibility. Further studies about the actual use of telehealth and its effect after the COVID-19 pandemic are necessary.

16.
JMIR Form Res ; 6(9): e37984, 2022 Sep 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2022387

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic is a substantial public health crisis that negatively affects human health and well-being. As a result of being infected with the coronavirus, patients can experience long-term health effects called long COVID syndrome. Multiple symptoms characterize this syndrome, and it is crucial to identify these symptoms as they may negatively impact patients' day-to-day lives. Breathlessness, fatigue, and brain fog are the 3 most common continuing and debilitating symptoms that patients with long COVID have reported, often months after the onset of COVID-19. OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to understand the patterns and behavior of long COVID symptoms reported by patients on the Twitter social media platform, which is vital to improving our understanding of long COVID. METHODS: Long COVID-related Twitter data were collected from May 1, 2020, to December 31, 2021. We used association rule mining techniques to identify frequent symptoms and establish relationships between symptoms among patients with long COVID in Twitter social media discussions. The highest confidence level-based detection was used to determine the most significant rules with 10% minimum confidence and 0.01% minimum support with a positive lift. RESULTS: Among the 30,327 tweets included in our study, the most frequent symptoms were brain fog (n=7812, 25.8%), fatigue (n=5284, 17.4%), breathing/lung issues (n=4750, 15.7%), heart issues (n=2900, 9.6%), flu symptoms (n=2824, 9.3%), depression (n=2256, 7.4%) and general pains (n=1786, 5.9%). Loss of smell and taste, cold, cough, chest pain, fever, headache, and arm pain emerged in 1.6% (n=474) to 5.3% (n=1616) of patients with long COVID. Furthermore, the highest confidence level-based detection successfully demonstrates the potential of association analysis and the Apriori algorithm to establish patterns to explore 57 meaningful relationship rules among long COVID symptoms. The strongest relationship revealed that patients with lung/breathing problems and loss of taste are likely to have a loss of smell with 77% confidence. CONCLUSIONS: There are very active social media discussions that could support the growing understanding of COVID-19 and its long-term impact. These discussions enable a potential field of research to analyze the behavior of long COVID syndrome. Exploratory data analysis using natural language processing methods revealed the symptoms and medical conditions related to long COVID discussions on the Twitter social media platform. Using Apriori algorithm-based association rules, we determined interesting and meaningful relationships between symptoms.

17.
JMIR Public Health Surveill ; 8(8): e37656, 2022 08 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2022376

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine is recommended for adolescents and young adults to prevent HPV-related cancers and genital warts. However, HPV vaccine uptake among the target age groups is suboptimal. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this infodemiology study was to examine public online searches in the United States related to the HPV vaccine from January 2010 to December 2021. METHODS: Google Trends (GT) was used to explore online searches related to the HPV vaccine from January 1, 2010, to December 31, 2021. Online searches and queries on the HPV vaccine were investigated using relative search volumes (RSVs). Analysis of variance was performed to investigate quarterly differences in HPV vaccine searches in each year from 2010 to 2021. A joinpoint regression was used to identify statistically significant changes over time; the α level was set to .05. RESULTS: The year-wise online search volume related to the HPV vaccine increased from 2010 to 2021, often following federal changes related to vaccine administration. Joinpoint regression analysis showed that HPV vaccine searches significantly increased on average by 8.6% (95% CI 5.9%-11.4%) across each year from 2010 to 2021. Moreover, HPV vaccine searches demonstrated a similar pattern across years, with search interest increasing through August nearly every year. At the state level, the highest 12-year mean RSV was observed in California (59.9, SD 14.3) and the lowest was observed in Wyoming (17.4, SD 8.5) during the period of 2010-2021. CONCLUSIONS: Online searches related to the HPV vaccine increased by an average of 8.6% across each year from 2010 to 2021, with noticeable spikes corresponding to key changes in vaccine recommendations. We identified patterns across years and differences at the state level in the online search interest related to the HPV vaccine. Public health organizations can use GT as a tool to characterize the public interest in and promote the HPV vaccine in the United States.


Subject(s)
Papillomavirus Infections , Papillomavirus Vaccines , Adolescent , Humans , Infodemiology , Papillomavirus Infections/prevention & control , Papillomavirus Vaccines/therapeutic use , Search Engine , United States , Vaccination , Young Adult
18.
J Med Internet Res ; 24(8): e36085, 2022 08 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2022349

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Social media has changed the way we live and communicate, as well as offering unprecedented opportunities to improve many aspects of our lives, including health promotion and disease prevention. However, there is also a darker side to social media that is not always as evident as its possible benefits. In fact, social media has also opened the door to new social and health risks that are linked to health misinformation. OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to study the role of social media bots during the COVID-19 outbreak. METHODS: The Twitter streaming API was used to collect tweets regarding COVID-19 during the early stages of the outbreak. The Botometer tool was then used to obtain the likelihood of whether each account is a bot or not. Bot classification and topic-modeling techniques were used to interpret the Twitter conversation. Finally, the sentiment associated with the tweets was compared depending on the source of the tweet. RESULTS: Regarding the conversation topics, there were notable differences between the different accounts. The content of nonbot accounts was associated with the evolution of the pandemic, support, and advice. On the other hand, in the case of self-declared bots, the content consisted mainly of news, such as the existence of diagnostic tests, the evolution of the pandemic, and scientific findings. Finally, in the case of bots, the content was mostly political. Above all, there was a general overriding tone of criticism and disagreement. In relation to the sentiment analysis, the main differences were associated with the tone of the conversation. In the case of self-declared bots, this tended to be neutral, whereas the conversation of normal users scored positively. In contrast, bots tended to score negatively. CONCLUSIONS: By classifying the accounts according to their likelihood of being bots and performing topic modeling, we were able to segment the Twitter conversation regarding COVID-19. Bot accounts tended to criticize the measures imposed to curb the pandemic, express disagreement with politicians, or question the veracity of the information shared on social media.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Social Media , COVID-19/epidemiology , Disease Outbreaks , Humans , Infodemic , Pandemics/prevention & control
19.
JMIR Form Res ; 6(9): e39274, 2022 Sep 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2002424

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: People's health-related knowledge influences health outcomes, as this knowledge may influence whether individuals follow advice from their doctors or public health agencies. Yet, little attention has been paid to where people obtain health information and how these information sources relate to the quality of knowledge. OBJECTIVE: We aim to discover what information sources people use to learn about health conditions, how these sources relate to the quality of their health knowledge, and how both the number of information sources and health knowledge change over time. METHODS: We surveyed 200 different individuals at 12 time points from March through September 2020. At each time point, we elicited participants' knowledge about causes, risk factors, and preventative interventions for 8 viral (Ebola, common cold, COVID-19, Zika) and nonviral (food allergies, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis [ALS], strep throat, stroke) illnesses. Participants were further asked how they learned about each illness and to rate how much they trust various sources of health information. RESULTS: We found that participants used different information sources to obtain health information about common illnesses (food allergies, strep throat, stroke) compared to emerging illnesses (Ebola, common cold, COVID-19, Zika). Participants relied mainly on news media, government agencies, and social media for information about emerging illnesses, while learning about common illnesses from family, friends, and medical professionals. Participants relied on social media for information about COVID-19, with their knowledge accuracy of COVID-19 declining over the course of the pandemic. The number of information sources participants used was positively correlated with health knowledge quality, though there was no relationship with the specific source types consulted. CONCLUSIONS: Building on prior work on health information seeking and factors affecting health knowledge, we now find that people systematically consult different types of information sources by illness type and that the number of information sources people use affects the quality of individuals' health knowledge. Interventions to disseminate health information may need to be targeted to where individuals are likely to seek out information, and these information sources differ systematically by illness type.

20.
J Med Internet Res ; 24(7): e38395, 2022 Jul 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1993699

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Crowdfunding is increasingly used to offset the financial burdens of illness and health care. In the era of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated infodemic, the role of crowdfunding to support controversial COVID-19 stances is unknown. OBJECTIVE: We sought to examine COVID-19-related crowdfunding focusing on the funding of alternative treatments not endorsed by major medical entities, including campaigns with an explicit antivaccine, antimask, or antihealth care stances. METHODS: We performed a cross-sectional analysis of GoFundMe campaigns for individuals requesting donations for COVID-19 relief. Campaigns were identified by key word and manual review to categorize campaigns into "Traditional treatments," "Alternative treatments," "Business-related," "Mandate," "First Response," and "General." For each campaign, we extracted basic narrative, engagement, and financial variables. Among those that were manually reviewed, the additional variables of "mandate type," "mandate stance," and presence of COVID-19 misinformation within the campaign narrative were also included. COVID-19 misinformation was defined as "false or misleading statements," where cited evidence could be provided to refute the claim. Descriptive statistics were used to characterize the study cohort. RESULTS: A total of 30,368 campaigns met the criteria for final analysis. After manual review, we identified 53 campaigns (0.17%) seeking funding for alternative medical treatment for COVID-19, including popularized treatments such as ivermectin (n=14, 26%), hydroxychloroquine (n=6, 11%), and vitamin D (n=4, 7.5%). Moreover, 23 (43%) of the 53 campaigns seeking support for alternative treatments contained COVID-19 misinformation. There were 80 campaigns that opposed mandating masks or vaccination, 48 (60%) of which contained COVID-19 misinformation. Alternative treatment campaigns had a lower median amount raised (US $1135) compared to traditional (US $2828) treatments (P<.001) and a lower median percentile of target achieved (11.9% vs 31.1%; P=.003). Campaigns for alternative treatments raised substantially lower amounts (US $115,000 vs US $52,715,000, respectively) and lower proportions of fundraising goals (2.1% vs 12.5%) for alternative versus conventional campaigns. The median goal for campaigns was significantly higher (US $25,000 vs US $10,000) for campaigns opposing mask or vaccine mandates relative to those in support of upholding mandates (P=.04). Campaigns seeking funding to lift mandates on health care workers reached US $622 (0.15%) out of a US $410,000 goal. CONCLUSIONS: A small minority of web-based crowdfunding campaigns for COVID-19 were directed at unproven COVID-19 treatments and support for campaigns aimed against masking or vaccine mandates. Approximately half (71/133, 53%) of these campaigns contained verifiably false or misleading information and had limited fundraising success. INTERNATIONAL REGISTERED REPORT IDENTIFIER (IRRID): RR2-10.1001/jamainternmed.2019.3330.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Crowdsourcing , COVID-19/epidemiology , Communication , Cross-Sectional Studies , Humans , Pandemics , Social Networking
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