Many states reported being surprised by the flu epidemic, which hit many places harder and earlier than usual. However, tracking social media could predict epidemics.
By monitoring people more likely to come into contact with a disease, you can spot an epidemic on the rise, before it overtakes a population, according to an infographic by MPH Programs List. Traditionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention rely on outpatient reporting and test results, confirming outbreaks two weeks after they begin.
This isn’t the first instance of social networks tracking health issues. During the summer, Sickweather.com named the top health hazards in the Mediterranean based on social media reports of partiers coming home with the “Maga cough” from Magaluf, Spain or the “Zante flu” from Zakynthos, Greece.
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