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© 2019, Indian Journal of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology. All rights reserved. Introduction: Internet worldwide has revolutionised the way health information is obtained by general population, thus making Internet a potential source in collective health trends. On 19th May 2018, Nipah outbreak was reported in Kozhikode district, Kerala, India. The current study took this opportunity to assess and provide real time metrics on public search behaviour on internet (in response to Nipah outbreak) in India. Method: The activity behaviour of internet search data was obtained for India via search terms related to Nipah, based on data harvested from Internet, using Google Trends (GT). GT was assessed for search volumes for May- June 2018 and separately for 2007 year. “Nipah” and “Fruit Bat” were used as keywords for obtaining the search volume. GT produced Relative Search Volume (RSV) indicators scaled to the highest search proportion week (RSV=100). Results: The search trend for all the search terms rose from 20th May and there was a gradual decline in the pattern through the month. Highest RSV was observed on 22nd May 2018 for search terms Virus (100), Nipah (83) and Virus Nipah (76). With respect to regional interest of the search term “Nipah”, greatest RSV was registered for Kerala (100) followed by Goa (64), Tripura (59), Arunachal Pradesh (54) and Karnataka (51). Conclusions: The current study revealed increase in internet searches following the outbreak of Nipah and a differential search pattern across country. Research is needed to further utilise GT to construct models for prediction and forecasting of health related states and events.

Original publication




Journal article


Indian Journal of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology

Publication Date





282 - 287