Wednesday, October 26, 2011

HealthMap: Using The Web To Track Deadly Diseases In Real Time

Today we can circle the world in a day, but low cost, fast global travel comes at a price. Whereas in the past the spread of disease was slowed by the limits of travel, today we, and the viruses and diseases we carry can travel the globe at an alarming speed. However this interconnectedness is the very tool we can use to fight the spread of such pandemics. Five years ago John Brownstein, a digital epidemiologist at the Children's Hospital in Boston developed HealthMap. This project automatically trawls the web identifying news stories, government data & wildlife disease reports to identify trends & plot them on a clickable map. The project has now been relaunched & refocused to include social networks like Twitter & Facebook, making use of tweets about food poisoning or flu outbreaks. There is even a mobile app - HealthMap: Outbreaks Near Me, which gives news, & allows users to report information of public health issues based on location.
Posted by Astrojenny

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