Eastern Equine Encephalitis and YouTube Videos: A Content Analysis

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Infection, Disease & Health




Background: Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus (EEEV) infections among humans are rare, but can result in severe consequences. YouTube can serve as a platform for EEEV health education. This study aims to assess the characteristics of the top EEEV-related YouTube videos, and whether their informational contents vary by uploading source.

Methods: On August 15, 2016, we searched YouTube.com for the top 100 videos by number of views featuring “Eastern Equine Encephalitis”. We manually coded and statistically analyzed the contents, source of uploads and meta-data of 100 most viewed EEEV-related YouTube videos. Univariate logistic regression was applied to identify if videos of different sources (consumer, professional, and news) differed in their contents.

Results: Excluding one video, 21 Consumer, 9 Professional, and 69 News videos were analyzed (N = 99). Compared with news-videos, consumer-videos are less likely to mention the geography of EEEV transmission (OR = 0.21, p < 0.01); professional-videos are more likely to mention other types of encephalitis (OR = 27.50, p < 0.01), and to mention horses only (OR = 8.5, p < 0.01).

Conclusions: Professional videos provided the most comprehensive information. However, few videos from professionals made it to the top 100 list. The untapped potential of YouTube as a unique platform to disseminate EEEV information deserves the attention of public health professionals.