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Twitter to track dengue fever outbreaks in Brazil

That's thanks to software created by a collaboration between two Brazilian National Institutes of Science and Technology, led by Wagner Meira, a computer scientist at the Federal University of Minus Gerais. The team has used it to identify a high correlation between the time and place where people tweet they have dengue and the official statistics for where the disease appears each season.

Social media has been used in real-time surveillance of diseases before; Twitter was used to follow the 2009 swine flu pandemic, for example. But this is the first time it has been used to track dengue fever, and the first time data on the scale of individual cities has been collected in this way. It is also the first attempt to pick up on people tweeting about their personal experience of a disease.

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