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Tracking disease outbreaks via the internet

This thought provoking report suggests that it may be possible to track disease outbreaks via internet usage. An interesting concept that also has many caveats, as pointed out by CDC representatives in the article.
 
 

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  1. I think this idea is definitely worth expounding upon, and could be especially useful if it has the critical mass of users/searches indexed. Obviously an "Oprah" effect could lead to false positives but I think that sort of thing could be ferreted out rather easily. If can't be determined that there was a media or news effect, then it may be worth investigating. However, there are other ways to do similar projects for different infectious diseases where you can vet the participants a little better than the entire public.

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