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CBC: Researchers predict ‘vaccine scares’ using Google and Twitter trends

University of Waterloo, public health, vaccinations, flu shot, measles, social media, Chris Bauch, vaccine scares, Disneyland outbreak, public health outbreakWhat do Google searches and tweets tell us about disease outbreaks? As it turns out, analyzing search and tweet trends could give warning signs for when a disease outbreak may happen due to reduced vaccinations.

An international team of researchers analyzed searches and tweets related to measles and the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine using artificial intelligence and a mathematical model, and detected warning signs of a “tipping point” two years before the Disneyland outbreak happened.

In early 2015, there was a measles outbreak that was traced to Disneyland in California. Many of the people who fell ill in Disneyland were not immunized — some too young for the vaccine and others had personal reasons for refusing shots. The outbreak was declared months later in the spring.

Read the full article here.

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