11 January 2012

ISDS members in the News

ISDS Board Director John Brownstein and ISDS member Rumi Chunara discussed the use of social media to track the outbreak of infectious diseases in a recent CNN Health article entitled "Tracking Infectious Disease on Twitter". Working with HealthMap.org and researchers at Harvard Medical School, Brownstein and Chunara described the results of using Twitter searches to analyze the 2011 cholera outbreak in Haiti.

This research found that the data derived retrospectively from social media outlets, such as Twitter, correlated with health ministry case reports. During specific times of the outbreak, such as the first incident of cholera, the social media data closely reflected the real outbreak. 

John Brownstein discussed the potential of using social media searches as a real-time tool that could influence the type of prevention used in future outbreaks. This type of disease tracking may be particularly useful in resource-poor setting like Haiti, where it is difficult to collect a lot of data early on during outbreaks.

Read the full article on the CNN Health website

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