Tracking The Flu With Technology and Twitter

The United States is undergoing one of the most severe flu seasons in years. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) publish weekly influenza updates that inform individuals of how many people are experiencing flu-like symptoms, how many hospitalizations and how may deaths. Although these reports are helpful, the information is about two weeks old once it is published. Experts have turned to Twitter for real-time information and with the GPS information that can be gathered from every tweet, the information is more detailed and valuable than the CDCs. The information being gathered from tweets can track outbreaks and also predict when and where the outbreak will spread. Early warnings of the flu will also encourage people to get vaccinated. Even though the word “sick” can be used in many contexts, researchers have been more efficient in filtering tweets to ensure the data is accurate. Easy access to real-time information is a huge advantage because people are able to become aware of the flu much faster than if notified by the CDC. Image

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2 thoughts on “Tracking The Flu With Technology and Twitter

  1. Julia’s post about tracking the flu is very interesting and proves that technology continues to make improvements in science and the well being of our countries people. It does pose a flaw that the information was two weeks old but again we used a new innovative way, with twitter, to get a more accurate read. I think the use of social media like in this example will continue to expand and develop as time goes on, and at a quite fast pace.

  2. This is such a cool concept. It makes so much sense to take advantage how much information people post about themselves through Twitter. I would be interested to know what their methods are for filtering the information to make sure it is accurate.

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