How to share information when it comes to #Ebola


Maybe you've laughed at the "More Americans have [INSERT JOKE HERE] than have died of Ebola" tweets that have been trending on social media lately.

But, say many observers, there is a serious side to lines like "More Americans have been married to Kim Kardashian than have died from Ebola." They're a much-needed reality check. As the Associated Press points out, "Ebola is giving Americans a crash course in fear."

Social media sites have also been useful in garnering donations, as Forbes reported. Just witness the Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS. (Haven't seen the Ebola version yet? Search for #ShakeEbolaOff...and dust off your dancing shoes.)

Of course, social media can both help and hurt health crises. Google Flu Trends, for example, seemed like a great tool in predicting health trends, until it got it wrong by almost double, according to Science Magazine. And as Fox News reported:

"Facebook communities of health care professionals and other individuals on the front line, who are able to accurately report on the outbreak of new cases globally, and perhaps using a defined lexicon for communication, could have a powerful impact in hastening the time for diagnosis and prevention. But an uncontrolled network of communications around flu-like symptoms carries a great risk for creating mass hysteria among those who are uneducated about the disease."

On a campaign to stop the flow of misinformation surrounding Ebola, The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation developed its own set of infographics, comparing Ebola to 12 other infectious diseases. Here are three we deem worthy of sharing via your favorite social media outlet:

How is Ebola transmitted?

Is asymptomatic transmission of Ebola possible?

How deadly is Ebola?

Next Up