Does the internet help fuel the measles outbreak?

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PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Misinformation on the internet could be fueling the spread of the measles outbreak in the Pacific Northwest.

CBS News reports that tech giants such as Facebook and Google are being criticized for their role in the outbreak as unproven claims often go viral online.

As of Monday afternoon there have been 62 confirmed cases of measles in Clark County since Jan. 1, including a newly confirmed case. Though there are some unverified cases, only 2 cases involved children who received one of the 2 recommended doses of vaccine.

Facebook told CBS News that they are taking steps to reduce the distribution of health-related misinformation, but know there is more work to be done.

Experts say misinformation spreads on the internet because social networks tend to be based on emotions, not facts.

CBS News medical contributor Dr. Tara Narula says she is seeing more and more patients who are skeptical about medical guidelines, based on information they’ve found on in internet. She says they often Google symptoms and find out misinformation instead of truth.

Officials say the tech giants need to be more responsible in curbing the spread of medical misinformation.

Read the full CBS News report here

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