Ebola, Big Data, and the Need for Better Prevention

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Ebola Virus Particlesby Angela Guess

Kalev Leetaru of Foreign Policy reports, “With the Centers for Disease Control now forecasting up to 1.4 million new infections from the current Ebola outbreak, what could “big data” do to help us identify the earliest warnings of future outbreaks and track the movements of the current outbreak in realtime? It turns out that monitoring the spread of Ebola can teach us a lot about what we missed — and how data mining, translation, and the non-Western world can help to provide better early warning tools.”

Leetaru continues, “Earlier this month, Harvard’s HealthMap service made world headlines for monitoring early mentions of the current Ebola outbreak on March 14, 2014, ‘nine days before the World Health Organization formally announced the epidemic,’ and issuing its first alert on March 19.  Much of the coverage of HealthMap’s success has emphasized that its early warning came from using massive computing power to sift out early indicators from millions of social media posts and other informal media.”

Read more here.

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