Columbia University, Social Media, Official discussed on 60-Second Science

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This is scientific americans sixty seconds science i'm karen hopkins all if you've ever checked out the restaurant reviews on yelp you know if these little missiles can tell you whether a bistro is overpriced door understaffed are just nothing to write home about but they may also be able to tell the local health department whether an establishment has been serving up salmonella researchers at columbia university in new york city were looking into an outbreak of food poisoning at a local restaurant a few years ago when they got the idea of using social media to track gastrointestinal disturbances during the investigation the department of health noted that patrons have reported their own says on yelp reviews but had reported in this one the season official reporting service computer scientists thomas f lindh who led the study previous investigations had shown that monitoring social media for keywords associated with illness was a good way of rapidly identifying outbreaks of infectious diseases such as the flu so f lindan his team built a similar system for stomachs does the department of health started using it in two thousand twelve the tours by sifting through the recent yelp reviews for new york city restaurants each day to identify potential reports of foodborne illness yelp reviews gets scanned for a telltale terms such as vomit diarrhea foodpoisoning pence sick flagged entries than get passed along to epidemiologists for a closer look the systems produce some false positives for example from reviews that stated things like the food had a weird chunky consistency hopefully we won't get sick tonight and then also missed a few posts like when the writer misspelled diarrhea a challenging word to write down even when you don't have it but overall the results are nothing to sneeze at nor in this case who are fat we found that using your data has helped the health department identified approximately 1500 complaints foodborne illness in new york city each year in total the system is found eight thousand five hundred twenty three complaints since july two thousand twelve resulting in the identification of 10 outbreaks the studies and.

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