Tracking Infectious Diseases Via Twitter and Google

Doctors will soon be able to track infectious diseases better using Twitter and Google if they are not doing so already. With Twitter trending they will be able to see when people are tweeting being sick, have fevers or flu symptoms.  The Google Tracker for flu has been around since 2008 and was used to track the H1N1 outbreak.

Tracking diseases

Tracking Infectious Diseases via Twitter and Google

The Ministry of Health and the Health Authority-Abu Dhabi (Haad) confirmed plans to look into introducing new “syndromic surveillance” into their current systems.

This involves collecting data from different sources – not limited to information about health – to anticipate any significant outbreaks“, said Dr Nada Al Marzouqi, the deputy director of preventative health at the health ministry.

Have an early warning system that would track outbreaks in real time could prevent outbreaks in the future.

“Syndromic surveillance, which is still under review by the World Health Organisation, utilizes internet search engines and social networking sites to provide a more in-depth report,” said Dr Al Hosani. Google’s flu map [Google Flu Trend Tracker] is one of the methods of surveillance that is currently available and has been in use since 2008.

According to Google “Our up-to-date influenza estimates may enable public health officials and health professionals to better respond to seasonal epidemics and pandemics.” In the Google trends you can search by areas all over the world and see the flu trends. You can also see the map that is color coded to show which states have the most flu activity at any given time.

Twitter’s trends will be able to focus on tweets that contain words of flu, fever, sick, etc. You can also follow Veratect Corporation on Twitter as they tweet the latest flu stats too.

So if you are a healthcare worker and have not used Twitter yet, check it out soon so you can be on top of the infectious disease tracking systems. You can also see some Twitter resources here.

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