Misinformation making a disease outbreak worse: Outcomes compared for influenza, monkeypox and norovirus

Brainard, Julii and Hunter, Paul (2020) Misinformation making a disease outbreak worse: Outcomes compared for influenza, monkeypox and norovirus. Simulation, 96 (4). pp. 365-374. ISSN 0037-5497

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Health misinformation can exacerbate infectious disease outbreaks. Especially pernicious advice could be classified as “fake news”: manufactured with no respect for accuracy and often integrated with emotive or conspiracy-framed narratives. We built an agent-based model that simulated separate but linked circulating contagious disease and sharing of health advice (classified as useful or harmful). Such advice has potential to influence human risk-taking behavior and therefore the risk of acquiring infection, especially as people are more likely in observed social networks to share bad advice. We test strategies proposed in the recent literature for countering misinformation. Reducing harmful advice from 50% to 40% of circulating information, or making at least 20% of the population unable to share or believe harmful advice, mitigated the influence of bad advice in the disease outbreak outcomes. How feasible it is to try to make people “immune” to misinformation or control spread of harmful advice should be explored.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Julii Brainard is a Senior Research Associate at Norwich Medical School, UK. Her interests include evidence evaluation, modelling and emergency preparedness. Paul Hunter is Professor of Health Protection at Norwich Medical School. His main interests are in epidemiology, especially waterborne and gastrointestinal diseases.
Uncontrolled Keywords: agent,agent-based models,behavior,fake news,gastroenteritis,information,quarantine,risk perception,social media,transmission,vaccination,fake news,influenza,monkeypox,norovirus,social networks
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Norwich Medical School
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Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 07 Oct 2019 15:30
Last Modified: 22 Sep 2021 01:47
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/72490
DOI: 10.1177/0037549719885021

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