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Activity Number: 397
Type: Invited
Date/Time: Tuesday, August 11, 2015 : 2:00 PM to 3:50 PM
Sponsor: Section on Statistics in Defense and National Security
Abstract #314286
Title: Digital Surveillance of Foodborne Illnesses and Outbreaks
Author(s): Elaine O. Nsoesie* and Sheryl Kluberg and Jared Hawkins and John S. Brownstein
Companies: Boston Children's Hospital and Boston Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School and Boston Children's Hospital
Keywords: foodborne illness ; foodborne diseases ; disease surveillance ; social media ; digital disease surveillance ; gastroenteritis

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. We seek to develop a data mining / informatics framework for monitoring reports on foodborne illness and disease outbreaks submitted to social media platforms (e.g. Twitter) and business review sites (e.g. Yelp.com) to supplement foodborne illness surveillance systems. In an initial study, we assessed whether foods implicated in foodborne illness reports on Yelp were similar to those reported in outbreak reports from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). We found significant correlations in the proportion of implicated foods distributed across various categories. In addition, we are also collaborating with public health departments to develop a dashboard for processing reports of foodborne illnesses for the purpose of further investigation and restaurant inspection, if necessary. This data-mining framework would hopefully provide near real-time information on foodborne illnesses, implicated foods and locations.

Authors who are presenting talks have a * after their name.

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