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

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.


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

November 22, 2017

Who's Not Coming to Dinner? Evaluating Trends in Online Restaurant Reservations for Outbreak Surveillance

Epidemiologists, public health agencies and scientists increasingly augment traditional surveillance systems with alternative data sources such as, digital surveillance systems utilizing news reports and social media, over-the-counter medication sales, and school absenteeism. Similar to school absenteeism, an increase in reservation cancellations could serve as an early indicator of social disruption including a major public health event. In this study, we evaluated whether a rise in restaurant table availabilities could be associated with an increase in disease incidence.


July 18, 2018

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