NHS Choices weekly website report – week 7

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Could you spot scarlet fever?

scarlet fever

This week’s NHS Choices website weekly report covers the period from February 13-19 2017, which saw 11.5 million visits to the site. This was a 3.03% decrease on the previous week, and a 2.31% decrease compared with the same period last year. Unique visitors totalled 8.31 million.

NHS Choices visits 2016 vs 2017

Top 10 site area visits (% of total visits)

Visits to Treatments and Conditions saw the biggest increase this week, going up by 0.90%. This week’s biggest faller was The NHS in England, which saw a 0.48% decrease in visits compared with last week.

Within Treatments and Conditions, there are a number of guides providing in-depth information on topics such as ‘pregnancy and baby’; ‘contraception’; ‘vaccinations’; ‘stress, anxiety and depression’; and a guide for ‘care and support’. Guides accounted for 9.48% of all site visits in week 7.


Scarlet fever: With cases of scarlet fever on the rise and outbreaks of the illness being reported in the news, it’s unsurprising that scarlet fever pages have seen an increase in visits. The ‘Scarlet fever introduction’ page saw visits rise by 104% to 76,572, while the ‘symptoms’ page saw visits go up by 62% to total 23,988. The condition was also linked to on the NHS Choices Facebook and Twitter pages during the week, with the Facebook post receiving 928 shares and the Tweet having 120 retweets.

Vitamin D: Research suggesting that adding vitamin D to food would prevent millions of cold and flu cases sparked interest in vitamin D information. The ‘Behind the Headlines’ article that examined the report in The Guardian saw 9,113 visits, while the ‘Vitamins and minerals – Vitamin D’ page saw visits go up by 166% to 57,968. Nearly all vitamin D-related pages saw increases in visits during the week, with the most significant rises being seen to the ‘How to get vitamin D from sunlight’ and ‘The new guidelines on vitamin D – what you need to know’ pages. The ‘How to get vitamin D from sunlight’ page saw visits increase by 227% to 11,621, while the ‘The new guidelines on vitamin D – what you need to know’ pages saw visits go up by 146% to total 9,514.

Top 10 search engine referral phrases: ‘Chicken pox’, ‘pancreatic cancer’ and ‘vitamin d’ moved into the top 10 this week after ranking 11th, 136th and 119th last week.

Stomach ulcer: Visits to stomach ulcer and peritonitis pages were of interest after it was confirmed that Tara Palmer-Tomkinson had died after an ulcer had burst in her stomach, triggering peritonitis and blood poisoning. Visits to the ‘Stomach ulcer introduction’ page rose by 66% to total 29,675, while the ‘complications’ page saw a 774% increase to reach 32,161 visits. The majority of visits to the condition occurred on February 15 – the day the news was reported in the press – with visits to the ‘complications’ on the Wednesday accounting for 75% of the weekly total. Peritonitis visits rose significantly too, with the ‘Peritonitis introduction’ page seeing visits go up by 315% to 14,779.

Autism spectrum disorder: A number of articles reporting that brain scans could identify babies most at risk of developing autism caused interest in ‘autism spectrum disorder’ pages. The ‘Autism spectrum disorder introduction’ page saw visits increase by 83% to 21,749, while the ‘symptoms’ page saw visits rise by 18% to 14,673. The ‘Behind the Headlines’ article associated with the story saw 495 visits.

Syphilis: A number of stories reporting that Donald Trump’s “bizarre, volatile behaviour” could be from untreated syphilis, led to an increase in visits to the condition. The ‘Syphilis introduction’ page saw visits increase by 66% to 13,235, while the ‘symptoms’ page saw a 42% increase in traffic.

Top 10 videos: Video views, including those on the NHS Choices YouTube channel, were 163,147 – a 0.83% decrease compared with the previous week. The ‘Pilates’ video was top, with 5,366 views.

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