Dengue surveillance based on a computational model of spatio-temporal locality of Twitter

author: Janaína Gomide, Department of Computer Science, Federal University of Minas Gerais
published: July 19, 2011,   recorded: June 2011,   views: 415
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Twitter is a unique social media channel, in the sense that users discuss and talk about the most diverse topics, including their health conditions. In this paper we analyze how Dengue epidemic is reflected on Twitter and to what extent that information can be used for the sake of surveillance. Dengue is a mosquito-borne infectious disease that is a leading cause of illness and death in tropical and subtropical regions, including Brazil. We propose an active surveillance methodology that is based on four dimensions: volume, location, time and public perception. First we explore the public perception dimension by performing sentiment analysis. This analysis enables us to lter out content that is not relevant for the sake of Dengue surveillance. Then, we verify the high correlation between the number of cases reported by official statistics and the number of tweets posted during the same time period (i.e., R2 = 0:9578). A clustering approach was used in order to exploit the spatiotemporal dimension, and the quality of the clusters obtained becomes evident when they are compared to official data (i.e., RandIndex = 0:8914). As an application, we propose a Dengue surveillance system that shows the evolution of the dengue situation reported in tweets, which is implemented in www.observatorio.inweb.org.br/dengue/.

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