Jan 2012. New Scientist -- Now a new study has demonstrated that using Twitter updates and online news websites to track a disease outbreak is not only quicker than more traditional methods - it's just as reliable, too.Not having a Twitter account can be dangerous to your health :)
They discovered 4697 online reports via HealthMap in eight different languages, and 188,819 tweets. Using this data they were able to monitor how the outbreak was progressing. They found that information gleaned from online sources in this way closely matched the official reports, gathered by surveying hospitals and health clinics. The only difference - and huge advantage - was that the online data was available in almost real time, nearly two weeks before the official reports from the govenerment health ministry were available.
tags: 10x, health, information, social, trade-off