Online Surveillance of Media Health Event Reporting in Nepal: Digital Disease Detection From a One Health Perspective

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BMC International Health and Human Rights






Background: Traditional media and the internet are crucial sources of health information. Media can significantly shape public opinion, knowledge and understanding of emerging and endemic health threats. As digital communication rapidly progresses, local access and dissemination of health information contribute significantly to global disease detection and reporting.

Methods: Health event reports in Nepal (October 2013–December 2014) were used to characterize Nepal’s media environment from a One Health perspective using HealthMap - a global online disease surveillance and mapping tool. Event variables (location, media source type, disease or risk factor of interest, and affected species) were extracted from HealthMap.

Results: A total of 179 health reports were captured from various sources including newspapers, inter-government agency bulletins, individual reports, and trade websites, yielding 108 (60%) unique articles. Human health events were reported most often (n = 85; 79%), followed by animal health events (n = 23; 21%), with no reports focused solely on environmental health.

Conclusions: By expanding event coverage across all of the health sectors, media in developing countries could play a crucial role in national risk communication efforts and could enhance early warning systems for disasters and disease outbreaks.