Transmissibility of the Ice Bucket Challenge among globally influential celebrities: retrospective cohort study.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

OBJECTIVES: To estimate the transmissibility of the Ice Bucket Challenge among globally influential celebrities and to identify associated risk factors. DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study. SETTING: Social media (YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram). PARTICIPANTS: David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo, Benedict Cumberbatch, Stephen Hawking, Mark Zuckerberg, Oprah Winfrey, Homer Simpson, and Kermit the Frog were defined as index cases. We included contacts up to the fifth generation seeded from each index case and enrolled a total of 99 participants into the cohort. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Basic reproduction number R0, serial interval of accepting the challenge, and odds ratios of associated risk factors based on fully observed nomination chains; R0 is a measure of transmissibility and is defined as the number of secondary cases generated by a single index in a fully susceptible population. Serial interval is the duration between onset of a primary case and onset of its secondary cases. RESULTS: Based on the empirical data and assuming a branching process we estimated a mean R0 of 1.43 (95% confidence interval 1.23 to 1.65) and a mean serial interval for accepting the challenge of 2.1 days (median 1 day). Higher log (base 10) net worth of the participants was positively associated with transmission (odds ratio 1.63, 95% confidence interval 1.06 to 2.50), adjusting for age and sex. CONCLUSIONS: The Ice Bucket Challenge was moderately transmissible among a group of globally influential celebrities, in the range of the pandemic A/H1N1 2009 influenza. The challenge was more likely to be spread by richer celebrities, perhaps in part reflecting greater social influence.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Ni, MY; Chan, BHY; Leung, GM; Lau, EHY; Pang, H

Published Date

  • December 16, 2014

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 349 /

Start / End Page

  • g7185 -

PubMed ID

  • 25514905

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC4267700

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1756-1833

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1136/bmj.g7185


  • eng

Conference Location

  • England