A Tool for Promoting Responsible Antibiotic Prescribing across Settings and Sectors

Antibiotic resistance is a mounting public health threat calling for action on global, national and local levels. Antibiotic use has been a major driver of increasing rates of antibiotic resistance. This has given rise to the practice of antibiotic stewardship, which seeks to reduce unnecessary antibiotic use across different care settings. Antibiotic stewardship has been increasingly applied in hospital settings, but adoption has been slow in many ambulatory care settings including primary care of humans. Uptake of antibiotic stewardship in veterinary care has been similarly limited.

June 18, 2019

Evaluation of approaches that adjust for biases in participatory surveillance systems

Because the dynamics and severity of influenza in the US vary each season, yearly estimates of disease burden in the population are essential to evaluate interventions and allocate resources. The CDC uses data from a national health-care based surveillance system and mathematical models to estimate the overall burden of disease in the general population. Over the past decade, crowd-sourced syndromic surveillance systems have emerged as a digital data source that collects health-related information in near real-time.

January 21, 2018

Zika Virus Speed and Direction: Reconstructing Zika Introduction in Brazil

Local transmission of Zika virus has been confirmed in 67 countries worldwide and in 46 countries or territories in the Americas. On February 1, 2016 the World Health Organization declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern due to the increase in microcephaly cases and other neurological disorders reported in Brazil. Several countries issued travel warnings for pregnant women travelling to Zika-affected countries with Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, and El Salvador advising against pregnancy.

August 07, 2017

A Digital Platform for Local Foodborne Illness and Outbreak Surveillance

Foodborne illness affects 1 in 4 Americans, annually. However, only a fraction of affected individuals seek medical attention. To supplement traditional approaches to foodborne disease surveillance, researchers and public health departments are considering reports of foodborne illness on social media sites. In this project, we work with local public health departments to develop a platform that uses digital data sources such as, Twitter and Yelp, to supplement foodborne disease surveillance efforts.

August 07, 2017

Monitoring Media Content About Vaccines in the United States: Data from the Vaccine Sentimeter

The success of public health campaigns in decreasing or eliminating the burden of vaccine-preventable diseases can be undermined by media content influencing vaccine hesitancy in the population. A tool for tracking and describing the ever-growing platforms for such media content can help decide how and where to invest in campaigns to increase public confidence in vaccines.

September 01, 2017

Epidemiological inferences using public information, influenza H7N9 epidemic in China

The influenza A(H7N9) virus emerged in early 2013 in China, with more than 130 laboratory-confirmed cases identified within a short period of about three months. Evidence-based public health response is essential for effective control of the disease, which relies on epidemiological and clinical data with good quality and timeliness. Publicly available information from sources such as official health website, online news, blogs or social media has the potential of rapid sharing of data to a wide community of experts for more comprehensive analyses.

October 13, 2017

Online Reports of Foodborne Illness Capture Foods Implicated in Official Foodborne Outbreak Reports

Traditional surveillance systems only capture a fraction of the estimated 48 million yearly cases of foodborne illness in the United States due to few affected individuals seeking medical care and lack of reporting to appropriate authorities. Non-traditional disease surveillance approaches could be used to supplement foodborne illness surveillance systems.

Objective

We assessed whether foodservice reviews on Yelp.com (a business review site) can be used to support foodborne illness surveillance efforts.

November 22, 2017

Wikipedia Usage Estimates Prevalence of Influenza-like Illness in Near Real-Time

The purpose of this work was to develop a novel method of estimating the amount of influenza-like illness (ILI) in a population, in near-real time, by using a source of information that is completely open to the public and free to access. We investigated the usefulness of data gathered from Wikipedia to estimate the prevalence of ILI in the United States, using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as Google Flu Trends.

Introduction

November 30, 2017

Development of a Vietnamese Language Outbreak Mapping and Surveillance System

In the South East Asia Region (SEAR), infectious disease continues to be a leading cause of death. SEAR countries, like Vietnam, are also at risk for outbreaks of emerging diseases due to high population density, proximity to animals and deforestation. Given Vietnam’s location in SEAR and its recurrent outbreaks of zoonotic diseases— timely surveillance in Vietnam is critical to global public health. Online news sources have been recognized as potential sources for early detection of emerging disease outbreaks, as was the case with SARS.

March 02, 2018

Flu Near You: An Online Self-reported Influenza Surveillance System in the USA

The emergence of new influenza strains including H1N1, H5N1, H3N2v as well as other respiratory pathogens such as SARS, along with generally weak information about household and community transmission of influenza, enforce the need for augmented influenza surveillance. At the same time, Internet penetration and access has grown, with 82% of American adults using the Internet, enabling transfer and communication of information that can be collected and aggregated in near real-time.

May 17, 2018

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