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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

Georgia Southern Examines Chinese Social Media Reactions

A collaborative study including Dr. Isaac Chun-Hai Fung, assistant professor of epidemiology, Mr. Braydon Schaible, and Ms. Yi Hao, biostatistics students, at the Georgia Southern University Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health examine “Chinese social media reaction to the MERS-CoV and avian influenza A(H7N9) outbreaks.” As internet and social media use have skyrocketed, epidemiologists have begun to use online data such as Google query data and Twitter trends to track the activity levels of influenza and other infectious diseases. In China, Weibo is an extremely popular microblogging site that is equivalent to Twitter. Capitalizing on the wealth of public opinion data contained in posts on Weibo, this study used Weibo as a measure of the Chinese people’s reactions to two different outbreaks: the 2012 Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) outbreak, and the 2013 outbreak of human infection of avian influenza A(H7N9) in China.