From the coronavirus to fighting vaccine sceptics, leading data and analytics company GlobalData lists ten of the most popular tweets on infectious diseases in January 2020, based on data from the company’s Influencer Platform.
1. Laurie Garrett’s tweet on the coronavirus and how to stay safe
Laurie Garrett, a former senior fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations, shared an article on the coronavirus and how to stay safe. The author lists some important precautionary measures such as wearing gloves, maintaining sanitation levels inside homes, and not eating any meat to protect oneself from contracting the virus.
On 26 January 2020, @Laurie_Garrett tweeted: “From all over the world I’ve been getting fearful questions about how people can protect themselves from #nCoV2019 infection. After responding to some individually, I decided to pull it all together. I hope someone will dist. this in Mandarin & Cantonese. foreignpolicy.com/2020/01/25/wuh…” which collected 1,758 likes and 1,314 retweets.
2. Julia Belluz’s tweet on the coronavirus’ spread worldwide
Julia Belluz, a health correspondent, shared an article on how quickly the coronavirus is spreading, right from its breakout in Wuhan, China. The article details how thousands have been sickened in approximately a dozen countries, including the US, Canada, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Nepal, Germany, Taiwan, France, Australia, and the South Korea.
On 22 January 2020, @juliaoftoronto tweeted: “A new SARS-like #coronavirus is spreading rapidly in Asia & the first case just popped up in the US. The 30-something Washington state resident fell sick with pneumonia after returning to Seattle from Wuhan, China— the outbreak epicenter — Jan.15.1/vox.com/2020/1/21/2107…” which gained 377 likes and 376 retweets.
3. Peter Hotez’s tweet on the dangerous effects of infectious diseases against its vaccines
Peter Hotez, a vaccine scientist and author, shared an article describing the odds if unvaccinated and sick. He compares the dangerous effects of three diseases including influenza, cervical cancer and measles, which are more fatal than their corresponding vaccines that cause only minimal side effects.
On 9 January 2020, @PeterHotez tweeted: “NEW @nytimes I teamed with @billmarshnyt graphics editor to counter #antivax misinformation, comparing dangerous effects infect dis with the minimal side effects of their corresponding vaccines. Special thanks @devi_lockwood @nanaasfour @JohnsHopkinsSPH nyti.ms/2R30zd1” which attracted 390 likes and 259 retweets.
4. Helen Branswell’s tweet on the ineffective thermal screening at airports
Helen Branswell, a senior writer of infectious diseases and global health, shared an article detailing how thermal screening at airports was ineffective in detecting the coronavirus, according to an analysis by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHT).
On 30 January 2020, @HelenBranswell tweeted: “New analysis from @LSHTM estimates that thermal entry screening at airports would only identify 9 of 100 #2019nCoV infected travelers coming off a 12-hour flight. Tool of limited usefulness. lshtm.ac.uk/newsevents/new…,” which earned 171 likes and 138 retweets.
5. Ron Daniels’ tweet on the difficulty in spotting sepsis
Dr Ron Daniels, the creator of the UK Sepsis Trust, shared an article on the difficulty of spotting Sepsis at any age, let alone young. He prompts parents to pop the question themselves, as they would know their children better than healthcare professionals. The article details how Rachael Pedrick managed to save her one-year-old daughter Holly, by storming into a GP surgery after waiting eight hours for an appointment.
On 6 January 2020, @SepsisUK tweeted: “#sepsis can be hard to spot at any age, let alone in the very young. Parents know their own children better than a health professional- if very worried, trust your instinct and #JustAsk – Could it be sepsis? dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7…” which collected 199 likes and 109 retweets.
6. Ian Mackay’s tweet on the suspected global tally of coronavirus cases
Ian Mackay, a virologist and scientist, tweeted on the number of suspected cases of the coronavirus worldwide. He stated that approximately 217 cases were registered from China, which included 198 from Wuhan, 14 from Guangdong, and five from Beijing. He also tweeted that Thailand reported two cases, while Japan and South Korea reported one each.
On 21 January 2020, @MackayIM tweeted: “Global case tally of the novel #Wuhan #pneumonia #coronavirus = 221: 217 in China 198 in Hubei province (Wuhan) 14 in Guangdong 5 in Beijing 1 in Japan 2 in Thailand 1 South Korea” which attracted 131 likes and 130 retweets.
7. Tara Smith’s tweet on the Marburg virus being found in Sierra Leone bats
Dr Tara C Smith, and infectious diseases epidemiologist and writer, shared an article on the Marburg virus, which can cause haemorrhagic fever, to be present in fruit bats in Sierra Leone. The article also stated that it was the first time that the Marburg virus was detected in West Africa. Like the Ebola virus, Marburg can be fatal and has the potential to spread to humans.
On 25 January 2020, @aetiology tweeted: “In non-coronavirus news, Marburg was just found in bats in Sierra Leone (PCR & live virus)–where no human Marburg cases have yet been diagnosed. ucdavis.edu/news/marburg-v…” which earned 149 likes and 94 retweets.
8. Maia Majumder’s tweet on infection control
Maia Majumder, a Harvard Medical School faculty, tweeted that planning, preparedness and infection control can bring an outbreak of a moderate R_0 disease under control without vaccines. Therefore, R_0 estimates for the coronavirus points at the need for more action than panic.
On 26 January 2020, @maiamajumder tweeted: “Planning, preparedness, and infection control can effectively bring an outbreak of a novel, moderate-R_0 disease to a close even in the absence of vaccines. Because of this, estimates of R_0 for #nCoV2019 should be viewed as a call to action instead of a reason to panic. 2/2” which collected 232 likes and 92 retweets.
9. Muge Cevik’s tweet on human-to-human transmission of the coronavirus
Dr Muge Cevik, a virology clinician and researcher, shared an article on how the findings of five infected patients of a family presented some unusual results. The report suggested that the coronavirus had an incubation period of three to six days and also confirmed human-to-human transmission.
On 25 January 2020, @mugecevik tweeted: “This paper describes the findings of five patients in a family cluster who presented with unexplained pneumonia. This and the above reports suggest that #nCoV2019 has approx 3–6 day incubation period and confirm human-to-human transmission. #IDTwitter thelancet.com/pb-assets/Lanc…” which gained 135 likes and 89 retweets.
10. Seth Berkley’s tweet on fighting vaccine sceptics in Italy
Seth Berkley, an infectious diseases epidemiologist, shared an article on how vaccines are regaining their importance in present times. The influencer further stated that four years ago, searching the word ‘vaccine’ in Italy would throw a list of antivaccination groups, but today it directs users to WHO sites.
On 9 January 2020, @GaviSeth tweeted: “Four years ago, googling “vaccines” in Italy would bring up a list of antivaccination groups… now, the first hits include… sites created by @WHO.” Great read on the “Burioni effect” & @RobertoBurioni’s admirable efforts 2tackle #vaccine skepticism. ow.ly/i97E50xPV84” which collected 300 likes and 86 retweets.