April 6, 2017

Meningitis, autism top searches on Google


Children undergoing vaccination against meningitis in Nigeria.

Nigerians last week searched on Google for information related to meningitis and autism, apparently due to reported cases of meningitis, an official said on Thursday.

Mr Taiwo Kola-Ogunlade, Google’s Communications and Public Affairs Manager, Anglophone West Africa, made this known in a statement in Lagos.

The manager said that meningitis outbreak in Nigeria got many people using Google Search to find out more information about the disease.

According to him, the one-week search ended on April 5.

“The rise in the number of deaths and the Buhari Support Group Centre’s (BSGC) decision to embark on a sensitisation campaign across states affected by the outbreak got people searching for the disease online.

“It has search phrases such as, `meningitis outbreak in Nigeria’, `cause of meningitis’, `meningitis outbreak’ and `how to prevent meningitis,’’ the manager said.

Read: Emir of Kano blasts Gov. Yari, says statement on Meningitis were horrendous, Islamically incorrect

According to Kola-Ogunlade, parents are advised to seek early medical help against diseases.

“Mr Joshua Anav, Programmes Manager at the Ike Foundation for Autism on April 3, in Abuja, advised parents to seek medical assistance as early as possible.

“This is to prevent full development of autism in toddlers, and as such, many Nigerians have gone onto Google to search for more information about autism.

“Nigerians went to search for information using search terms such as `Fewa Otedola’, `meaning of autism’, and `Autistic child,’’ he said.

He said that Nigerians also searched for information on Big Brother Nigeria and weekend sports.

“Some Nigerians are more concerned about Big Brother Nigeria and the weekend sports, which included the Barcelona match against Granada, than autism or meningitis,’’ he said.

He noted that Big Brother Nigeria’s Sunday night eviction show usually attracted a high number of viewers from reality television fans.

The manager said that people who missed the live show went to Google to search for the YouTube video of the eviction show.

He said that the search phrases included, “Big Brother Nigeria, 2017 eviction”, “Efe and Marvis”, “#bbnaija”, “Africa Magic, and “BBA Naija 2017”.

Kola-Ogunlade said that in the world of sports, football lovers searched using terms such as “Granada vs Barcelona highlights”, “Barcelona Granada”, “Granada vs Barcelona” and “Arsenal vs Man City”.

Kola-Ogunlade added that the arrest and detention of a U.S.-trained journalist, Kemi Olunloyo, also trended on Google after newspapers reported that Port Harcourt-based Pastor David Ibiyeomie laid charges against her over alleged defamation of character.

“Popular faces such as Nollywood actress, Uche Nnanna, questioned the legitimacy of the case Ibiyeomie holds against Kemi.

“Nnanna posted her reaction on Instagram, citing that a man of God should not have a journalist arrested for doing her job, if indeed the man is practising what he preaches, as this is something Jesus will not do,” he said.

He also said that the hashtag #KeepTheChangeBae trended on the popular social network, Twitter, for over 24 hours.

“It all started when Pablo Ayodeji, a young bachelor took a lady out on a date, hoping it would be a start to a relationship with young and beautiful Ore.

“But when she said: “No, there will not be a second date or a relationship here”, Pablo took to Twitter to rant about a date gone wrong.

“Ore, seeing Pablo’s rants on twitter, decided to payback N5,000 into Pablo’s account, which is N1,200 more to what he spent on the date, asking Pablo to keep the `change’.

“Internet users used Google Search to query “keep the change bae”, “Pablo Escobar” and “Ibada”,’’ he said.

Google Trends launched in May, 2006, allows one to see how popular search terms and their demography has been overtime on Google.