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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. In addition to monitoring reports of illness, this platform can also be used to respond to suspected foodborne illness reports and spur restaurant inspections to ensure food safety. To this end, we have developed a Dashboard that monitors social media chatter for reports of food poisoning in real-time. The Dashboard facilitates responding to illness reports and contacting consumers to provide additional information through a reporting form. The Dashboard is low cost, easy to use and designed to enable easy implementation for any region.


Develop a platform to enable local surveillance of foodborne illness reported on social media and restaurant review sites for supplementing traditional foodborne disease surveillance programs. In this presentation, we will discuss our collaboration with local public health departments to develop a foodborne disease surveillance Dashboard.

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