Sunday, February 26, 2012

Disease Sleuths

I've posted about Google's flu tracker and how Twitter is being used to track diseases before but I thought NPR's little animation was nice. The article: Disease Sleuths Surf for Outbreaks Online expands on it and is also interesting. This type of tracking is not suitable for all diseases:

In the early days of the cholera outbreak, Twitter and HealthMap data closely matched official reports. After 100 days online activity dropped off even though the epidemic raged on. Disease is easiest to detecte when it is out of the ordinary. Regularly recurring maladies like malaria are hard to follow online.

But it's a hot topic at the moment and even has a new name 'Webidemiology'. I hadn't realized that Google had expanded its surveillance to include Dengue Fever.

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