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Impact of World Tuberculosis Day on digital awareness of tuberculosis: analyses using Google Trends™

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BACKGROUND: Tuberculosis (TB) is the ninth leading cause of death worldwide. World Tuberculosis Day is held every year to increase global awareness of TB.

OBJECTIVE: To quantify the impact of World Tuberculosis Day using Internet-based data.

METHODS: Google Trends™ data were used to quantify digital searches for the term ‘tuberculosis' worldwide and in the seven countries with the highest TB incidence. We estimated the mean difference in relative search volume (RSV) between World Tuberculosis Day and control periods. This was done separately for each year (2004–2017) and for the period from 1 January 2004 to 31 December 2017. The mean differences in RSVs with the corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated. P values were calculated using the Mann-Whitney U-test. P < 0.05 was considered significant.

RESULTS: Analyses of single years revealed the mean difference in RSV for worldwide searches on average was 12.5 (95%CI 4.6–20.2). Between 1 January 2004 and 31 December 2017, it was 10.4 (95%CI 6.0–15.0). In high-incidence countries, results ranged from −0.9 (95%CI −5.0 to 6.0) for Nigeria to 13.3 (95%CI 5.0–25.0) for South Africa.

CONCLUSION: International campaigns such as the World Tuberculosis Day raise global awareness of TB. More actions are needed to increase TB awareness in high-incidence countries.
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Keywords: Google Trends™; TB; World TB Day; health impact assessment; information-seeking behaviour

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Faculty of Medicine, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy 2: Department of Clinical Surgery, University of Edinburgh, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK 3: Unit of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, University of Pavia, Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico San Matteo Hospital Foundation, Pavia, Italy

Publication date: July 1, 2019

More about this publication?
  • The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease publishes articles on all aspects of lung health, including public health-related issues such as training programmes, cost-benefit analysis, legislation, epidemiology, intervention studies and health systems research. The IJTLD is dedicated to the continuing education of physicians and health personnel and the dissemination of information on tuberculosis and lung health world-wide.

    Certain IJTLD articles are selected for translation into French, Spanish, Chinese or Russian. They are available on the Union website

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