The main purpose of this document is to offer recommendations to prevent the emergence and spread of misinformation in the course of a major infectious disease outbreak, and how misinformation can be corrected. Additionally, the document seeks to provide a background context in relation to the origins and persistent effect of misinformation and rumours in time. Finally, the document discusses key components of outbreak communication, such as presentation of scientific uncertainties and information gaps, and their role in the emergence of misinformation.
The recommendations and guidance is largely based on the findings identified following a comprehensive exercise carried out in the context of the TELL ME project, which included a broad study of population behaviour during major epidemics and pandemics, and the investigation of emerging challenges and new methods for outbreak communication. Furthermore, this document builds on the concepts and elements introduced in the TELL ME Framework Model for Outbreak Communication, such as the use of a participatory approach to outbreak communications planning, the role of opinion leaders and the use of social media to reach target audiences.