Social media for tracking disease outbreaks – fad or way of the future?

Infectious diseases kill more than 17 million people every year. Large outbreaks, known as epidemics, are becoming more frequent. And more serious infections have emerged in the past decade than any time previously. The social and economic impacts of epidemics can be severe. SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome), for example, cost the global economy US$54 billion. There is also a growing risk of unnatural epidemics from bioterrorism as a result of quantum advances in gene editing. We need better surveillance systems to detect epidemics early. But while there is the potential to predict epidemics by mining data of rumours and…
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