NEWS: Twitter Could Help Fight Outbreaks

09 May 2011


Dixons1105061340561-1.jpgA “healthmap” based on Twitter posts could help control the spread of viruses and prevent disease outbreaks.
Ad firm McCann Healthcare Worldwide is working on a new technology designed to monitor health-related tweets and warn users of spreading illnesses.
Called Kazemill, the online service reviews Twitter data every hour and is capable of sorting out tweets mentioning symptoms of major illnesses from general statements about people feeling down.
A colour-coded healthmap shows in real time the spread of symptoms, as reported by Twitter users experiencing them.
Its developers aim to improve the service enough to be able to “forecast” potential outbreaks of illnesses such cold, flu and hayfever.
SSP, a division of German drug firm Boehringer Ingelheim, is partnering McCann on the project.
Kazuhiro Koshidaka, head of marketing at SSP, said: “Twitter and social marketing makes perfect sense when tackling illness and disease, more so with diseases that are seasonal and recurring”