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Confronting Health Misinformation

The U.S. Surgeon General’s Advisory on Building a Healthy Information Environment


During the COVID-19 pandemic, people have been exposed to a great deal of information: news, public health guidance, fact sheets, infographics, research, opinions, rumors, myths, falsehoods, and more. The World Health Organization and the United Nations have characterized this unprecedented spread of information as an “infodemic.”

Although health misinformation is not a recent phenomenon, in recent years it has spread at unprecedented speed and scale, especially online. But, together, we have the power to build a healthier information environment where we make more informed decisions about our health and the health of our loved ones and communities.

Preventing and addressing health misinformation is a major priority for the Surgeon General. In a new Surgeon General’s Advisory, available below, the Surgeon General is warning the American public about the urgent threat of health misinformation and calling for a whole-of-society approach to address health misinformation during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.


A Surgeon General’s Advisory is a public statement that calls the American people’s attention to a public health issue and provides recommendations for how that issue should be addressed. Advisories are reserved for significant public health challenges that need the American people’s immediate awareness. For additional background, visit SurgeonGeneral​.gov.

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Unless otherwise noted in the text, all material appearing in this work is in the public domain and may be reproduced without permission. Citation of the source is appreciated.

Bookshelf ID: NBK572169PMID: 34283416


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