We’ve been tracking WHO’s prominence on twitter as a source of information on Zika virus and microcephaly. After a couple of weeks of relatively lower prominence, WHO was back at the centre last week, this time being the major source of retweets to dispel rumours that have been making the rounds regarding the possibility of vaccines being responsible for the upsurge in microcephaly observed in Brazil:
It’s good to see WHO being proactive, both in this and other rumours such as the role of the insecticide pyriproxifen, for which there is also no scientific basis. And as you can see from the graph below, the strategy seems to be working, with WHO’s statements being widely retweeted:
As previously, the graph is based on a sample of retweets containing the hashtags #Zika and #microcephaly. There are, of course, not comprehensive, since they don’t capture tweets in which these terms are used without the hashtag, and also exclude the more recent #Zikavirus hashtag, although for consistency with our previous postings we have retained the same search strings.