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Researchers to Monitor Public Perception of Swine Flu Outbreaks Using Technology from Realtime Search Engine, OneRiot
Date:4/29/2009

href="http://www.cs.uiowa.edu/~asignori/" onclick="linkClick( this.href );" target="_blank" title="Alessio Signorini">Alessio Signorini, PhD candidate at the University of Iowa and Director of Search Technology at OneRiot. Signorini will use the large amount of realtime data provided by OneRiot, in conjunction with official public health surveillance data, to discern patterns in disease diffusion and public perception of health scare outbreaks. Previous studies have shown the benefit of analyzing data abstracted from internet searches in forecasting seasonal influenza. SWIM for Health supplements such search data with OneRiot’s realtime information from across the social web, reflecting the web content people are sharing with friends (e,g, relevant videos, news stories and blog posts) as well as what they are talking about on social networks.

“The increase of social activity online, coupled with the availability of health-related resources, offers new ways to detect early outbreaks of diseases and measure public perception in realtime” said Signorini. “I hope that my research will one day enable us to more quickly and effectively understand how the public's sentiment affects the behavior and spread of diseases.”

Signorini has also developed an interactive map to monitor swine-flu-related “tweets” from Twitter in realtime. For example, if an unusually large number of people in Los Angeles tweet ‘swine flu’ or ‘tamiflu,’ it may indicate a potential influenza outbreak in southern California, or, more likely, it may simply indicate an elevated perception of disease risk. Such information might help public health authorities better address public concerns.

“By analyzing content from the realtime web, we hope to tease
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Researchers to Monitor Public Perception of Swine Flu Outbreaks Using Technology from Realtime Search Engine, OneRiot
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