Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

12/28/2012 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Social networking sites could provide bio-surveillance to map out epidemics

If you're one of the types of people who report their every single movement on social networking sites such as Facebook or Twitter, you may have recently posted a health update such as this: "I finally got the flu." "I'm out sick." "Darn this head cold!" In doing so, you may have played a part in a new trend, "bio-surveillance," which may prove helpful in mapping flu epidemics.

As this map of flu cases in the U.S. demonstrates, the influenza epidemic hit the eastern seaboard of the United States particularly hard.

As this map of flu cases in the U.S. demonstrates, the influenza epidemic hit the eastern seaboard of the United States particularly hard.

Article Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

12/28/2012 (1 year ago)

Published in Technology

Keywords: Facebook, Twitter, influenza epidemic, bio-surveillance, tweets, colds. Sickweather


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The future of predicting flu outbreaks as well as managing the treatment of epidemics may soon be through social media such as Twitter. A small start up, called Sickweather declared the beginning of flu season before the Centers for Disease Control.

The Baltimore-based firm claims that members of the public that tweet and post to Facebook about their illness allowed them to declare the new influenza outbreak had hit the U.S. on October 18th.

The Centers for Disease Control somewhat belatedly warned that the outbreak was getting off to its earliest start on December 3rd. This prediction was still six weeks after Sickweather.

Founder Graham Dodge found that social media reports of the flue spiked 77 percent between August and October.

And while an increase in the number of those out sick is normal during that time period, the numbers found by Sickweather were 30 percent up from the previous year.

An independent technology firm declares the beginning of the dreaded flu season is still probably years away. Sickweather itself almost jokingly mentioned their discovery with the tweet, "Oh, hello #flu, you're a little early this year: sick.io/ksxfm."

Technology watchers though, have called the development interesting as social media sickness mentions are one of the few signals that can be tracked in real time as doctors attempt to understand how a sickness moves.

Search engine giant Google uses its Google Flu Trends app -- but does not make specific announcements about the flu season.

Sickweather has joined the growing trend in using social media to track public health trends.

Accenture Federal Services announced in November it had received a $3 million contract from the Department of Homeland Security to create a so-called "bio-surveillance" system.

The system will allow the Office of Health Affairs to monitor and respond to national health emergencies through Internet social media, enabling the OHA to collect and analyze social media platforms for information to "detect and respond to potential threats to national health security."

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for April 2014
Ecology and Justice:
That governments may foster the protection of creation and the just distribution of natural resources.
Hope for the Sick: That the Risen Lord may fill with hope the hearts of those who are being tested by pain and sickness.



Comments


More Technology

Earth struck by powerful asteroids at least twice a year Watch

Image of Data from monitoring stations which were originally designed to enforce a nuclear test ban treaty has discovered that the Earth is enduring far more dangerous asteroid impacts than previously thought.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Earth was hit by 26 asteroids between the years of 2000 and 2013. The asteroids exploded with a force of between one and 600 kilotons. This phenomenon occurred on average once every six months. More alarmingly, these bodies weren't detected in space and ... continue reading


Upstart Aereo service could change the way world watches TV. Supreme Court will now decide. Watch

Image of Based in Brooklyn, Aereo lets

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Aereo, a tiny, TV streaming service that lets users get their favorite programs through rented antennas is accused of violating broadcasters' copyrights. The Supreme Court appears hesitant in deciding the ABC vs. Aereo lawsuit. The decision could very well ... continue reading


New plan by FDA will help critically sick get early access to care Watch

Image of The FDA's new program aims to get test products into the hands of patients who have no other treatment options.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration proposed a new program aimed at speeding up approvals for medical devices for patients who have no other treatment options available, on April 22. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Called the Expedited Access Premarket ... continue reading


Miracle substance grown in common household blender Watch

Image of Graphene's incredibly strength and flexibility make the material highly useful in manufacturing electronics.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A team of scientists from Ireland and the UK may have just discovered a quick new way to mass produce the wonder material grapheme. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Published in the journal Nature Materials, the team outlines how they managed to produce a quantity ... continue reading


STEM CELL BREAKTHROUGH? Have researchers achieved 'therapeutic cloning' of adults? Watch

Image of The ultimate goal must always respect the dignity of every human life

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

For the first time, researchers claim to have achieved "therapeutic cloning" of adults, which involves producing embryonic cells genetically identical to a donor. It marks the first step in what is called reproductive cloning, or producing a genetic duplicate ... continue reading


DEATH FROM SKIES: Asteroids have missed major cities by sheer luck, scientists say Watch

Image of One asteroid, believed to have hit Earth 3.26 billion years ago, was 36 miles wide, which scientists said was six times bigger than the blast which wiped out dinosaurs.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Barring an incident in Russia last year, asteroids striking the Earth have had very little impact on human life so far that large-scale asteroids have struck Earth three to ten times more often over the past decade than previously thought. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


A NEW EARTH? Astronomers discover remarkably similar planet to our own Watch

Image of The Goldilocks zone, or habitable zone, is the belt around a star where temperatures are ideal for liquid water to pool on a planet's surface.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Astronomers have announced that they have found a planet that is remarkably similar to Earth. Called Kepler-186f, the planet 1.1 times the size of Earth orbiting a star - "only" 490 light years away. Kepler-186f is the first planet discovered with the right ... continue reading


EYES TO THE HEAVENS: Astronomers say there may be a 'new Saturn moon' Watch

Image of The disturbance in the edge of the ring is 20 percent brighter than its surroundings and about 750 miles long and six miles wide.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

All eyes are on the heavens as astronomers theorize that another moon for the ringed planet of Saturn may be on its way. If the heavenly body in the rings of Saturn is confirmed, it would make for the planet's 63rd moon. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


IS THE SECOND COMING NIGH? Four blood moons this year all occur on Jewish holidays Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

As climate change wreaks havoc worldwide, and relations between the U.S. and Russia reach a low point over Ukraine, some Christians say that the phenomenon of the "Blood moon" may mean that Christ's return is rapidly approaching. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


Will Alibaba devour Facebook? China's massive Alibaba is coming to conquer the United States Watch

Image of Yahoo's dominance has since dwindled as Alibaba has since grown into a global powerhouse.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Ali Baba for those in the west usually means the storybook leader of a gang of fearless, 40 thieves. But this will soon change. A massive e-commerce site from China, Alibaba, with revenue larger than Amazon and eBay combined has decided to go public in the ... continue reading


All Technology News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Acts 3:11-26
11 Everyone came running towards them in great ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 8:2, 5, 6-7, 8-9
2 even through the mouths of children, or of babes in ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 24:35-48
35 Then they told their story of what had happened on ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 24th, 2014 Image

St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen
April 24: Franciscan Capuchin martyr. He was born Mark Rey is Sigmaringen, ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter