Date of Defense
Date of Graduation
Sue Ellen Christian
Communicating accurate health information to the public has always been a vital role of public health professionals. This role became especially prominent in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, when public health professionals had the challenge of sharing up-to-date information about a novel coronavirus while other messages about the virus - both true and false - were being spread by other entities. This paper focuses on one case of intentionally incorrect information (disinformation) that was spread during the COVID-19 pandemic, purporting anti-parasitic drug ivermectin as a “miracle cure” for COVID-19. This case study is analyzed through the lens of the Media Manipulation Cycle provided by the brief Mitigating Medical Misinformation: A Whole-of-Society Approach to Countering Spam, Scams, and Hoaxes written by researchers with the Harvard Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy. After analyzing the spread of disinformation about ivermectin by media manipulators and the response by the public health sector, this paper reviews the effectiveness of the Media Manipulation Cycle framework and provides six recommendations for public health officials to tackle disinformation in the future.
Dittmar, Ashley, "Ivermectin: COVID-19 "miracle cure?": A case study on public health communication to combat disinformation" (2023). Honors Theses. 3729.
Honors Thesis-Open Access