Harnessing big data for communicable tropical and sub-tropical disorders

Added December 3, 2018

Citation: Gianfredi V, Bragazzi NL, Nucci D, Martini M, Rosselli R, Minelli L, Moretti M. Harnessing big data for communicable tropical and sub-tropical disorders: implications from a systematic review of the literature. Frontiers in public health. 2018 Mar 21;6:90.

Summary: Although with limitations of their own, novel data streams (NDS) appear to be promising for predicting the spread of infectious agents. Traditional surveillance systems often have drawbacks such as significant delays in releasing information, whereas NDS could offer a real-time way to track and monitor outbreak dynamics and capture relevant parameters regarding infection rates.

This systematic review aimed to assess how feasible the use of novel data streams (NDS) is in the context of capturing public reactions to epidemic outbreaks and for surveillance purposes. It comprised of 47 observational studies, of which 19 focused on Ebola. Most studies examined a single NDS, with Twitter being the most exploited tool (25 studies). An unbalanced coverage in research was found, such that most studies have focused on communicable tropical/sub-tropical diseases, and fewer focused on neglected tropical diseases. The main determinant of this unbalanced coverage seems to be media resonance and impact. Further research is required to address these limitations and more efforts should be made to integrate novel data streams.

 

Disclaimer: This summary has been written by staff and volunteers of Evidence Aid in order to make the content of the original document accessible to decision makers who are searching for the available evidence on Ebola but may not have the time, initially, to read the original report in full. This summary is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of physicians, other health workers, professional associations, guideline developers, or national governments and international agencies. If readers of this summary think that the evidence that is presented within it is relevant to their decision-making they should refer to the content and details of the original article, and the advice and guidelines offered by other sources of expertise, before making decisions. Evidence Aid cannot be held responsible for any decisions made about Ebola on the basis of this summary alone.

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