H1N1 tweet study suggests tool for health officials

Infodemiology is knocking. University of Toronto researchers note that the 2009 H1N1 outbreak marked the first instance of a global pandemic "in the age of Web 2.0," and so an opportunity to see the technology at work in a public health emergency. Cynthia Chew and Gunther Eysenbach write in PLoS Online that "sharp increases" in H1N1-related tweet volume coincided with such news events as WHO's Level 6 designation of the disease. And they tracked use of the terms "swine flu" and "H1N1," noting a migration to the WHO-recommended terminology. The tweets can be used for near real-time content and sentiment analysis and knowledge translation research, they say, allowing health authorities to detect and respond to real or perceived public concerns. Paper 

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