Our results suggest that news coverage of public health authority announcements opens brief windows of information sharing, engagement, and searching that offer opportunities to address perceptions and provide preparation and vector control recommendations through education. Sharing and searching are less apparent outside these windows, especially in contexts in which an emerging infectious disease is not yet prevalent. Our findings may not generalize beyond the initial stages of Zika virus transmission in the United States, and future work could obtain appropriate data for investigating the tone of news coverage and online communication in various countries. Nevertheless, recent trends in online information-seeking about Zika virus has been sensitive to official announcements, suggesting the usefulness of pairing announcements with provision of information resources that can be found through search engines.
Zika virus–related news coverage and online behavior, United States, Guatemala, and Brazil