What’s Buzzing on your Feed? Health Authorities’ Use of Facebook to Combat Zika in Singapore

Santosh Vijaykumar, Rianne Meurzec, Karthikayen Jayasundar, Claudia Pagliari, Yohann Fernandopulle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)
18 Downloads (Pure)


In 2016, Singapore grappled with one of the largest Zika outbreaks in Southeast Asia. This study examines the use of Facebook for Zika-related outreach and engagement by the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the National Environmental Agency (NEA) from March 1, 2015 to September 19, 2016. Despite nearly equivalent outreach, MOH’s Facebook posts received more likes (µ=3.49) and shares (µ=30.11), whereas NEA’s posts received more comments (µ=4.55), with NEA posting mostly on prevention (N=30) and MOH on situational updates (N=24). Thematic analyses identified prevention-related posts as garnering the most likes (N=1277), while update-related posts were most shared (N=1,059) and commented upon (N=220). Outreach briefly ceased for two months after Singapore’s first imported case of Zika, but increased following the outbreak of locally-transmitted cases in August 2016. Public engagement was significantly higher during Zika, compared with prior Haze and Dengue outbreak. The results indicate the value of Facebook as a tool for rapid outreach during infectious disease outbreaks, and as a ‘listening’ platform for those managing the situation. We discuss implications for public health communication and research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1155–1159
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the American Medical Informatics Association
Issue number6
Early online date25 Apr 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2017


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