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Submitted: 20 Aug 2020
Revision: 26 Nov 2020
Accepted: 27 Nov 2020
ePublished: 07 Feb 2021
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Health Promot Perspect. 2021;11(1): 12-19.
doi: 10.34172/hpp.2021.03
  Abstract View: 76
  PDF Download: 43

Systematic Review

Rumor surveillance methods in outbreaks: A systematic literature review

Simin Salehinejad 1, Parya Jangipour Afshar 2, Vahidreza Borhaninejad 3* ORCID logo

1 Medical Informatics Research Center, Institute for Futures Studies in Health, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran
2 Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Faculty of Public Health, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran
3 Social Determinants of Health Research Center, Institute for Futures Studies in Health, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran

Abstract

Background: The spreading of health-related rumors can profoundly put society at risk, and the
investigation of strategies and methods can efficiently prevent the dissemination of hazardous
rumor is necessary, especially during a public health emergency including disease outbreaks. In
this article we review the studies that implicated the surveillance system in identifying rumors
and discuss the different aspects of current methods in this field.
Methods: We searched PubMed, EMBASE, Scopus, and Web of Science databases for relevant
publications in English from 2000 to 2020. The PICOS approach was used to select articles,
and two reviewers extracted the data. Findings were categorized as a source of rumors, type
of systems, data collection, and data transmission methods. The quality of the articles was
assessed using the Mixed Method Appraisal Tool (MMAT) checklist.
Results: Five studies that presented the methods used for rumor detection in different outbreaks
were included in the critical appraisal process. Findings were grouped into four categories:
source of rumors, type of systems, data collection, and data transmission methods. The source
of rumors in most studies was media, including new social and traditional media. The most
used data collection methods were human-computer interaction technique, and automatic and
manual methods each were discussed in one study. Also, the data transmission method was
asynchronous in the majority of studies.
Conclusion: Based on our findings, the most common rumor detection systems used in the
outbreaks were manual and/or human-computer methods which are considered to be time-consuming
processes. Due to the ever-increasing amount of modern social media platforms and the fast-spreading of misinformation in the times of outbreaks, developing the automatically and real-time tools for rumor detection is a vital need.
Keywords: Rumor, Misinformation, Public health surveillance, Disease outbreak
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