Rumor Surveillance

"Are the Rumors True?"

News of an outbreak plagued the nation, but it was hard to decipher what was true and what was false.  Had these rumors been perceived as true, it could have lead countries to impose unnecessary trade and travel restrictions leading to a great number of consequences economically and socially.

To protect the international community the World Health Organization enhanced its rumor surveillance.  Rumor surveillance helps to monitor the veracity of information as well as the potential of misinformation being leaked to lead to a greater misunderstanding. Instead the World Health Organization urges public health officials to facilitate better means of communicating in ways that would ensure a more rapid response to promote public health preparedness. 

At its roots, rumor surveillance is a passive process, where rumor reports are differentiated from media reports from professional groups, the public, and the actual World Health Organization. If we were to enhance the system,rumor surveillance would be intensified by actively seeking out rumors and following through with more vigor.

This rumor surveillance would include analyzing more media sources.  The media sources would in turn need to regularly request information from the World Health Organization about the outbreak events. 

Previously, the better the rumor surveillance works, the better it would serve as a way for people to gain the best and most accurate information. The importance of rumor surveillance will only continue to grow, especially with the release of new documentation stating: "WHO, in consultation with the health administrators of the State concerned, shall verify rumors of public health risks which may involve or result in international spread of disease" (Article 8 of the IHR Working Papers).

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