Internet-based biosurveillance methods for vector-borne diseases: Are they novel public health tools or just novelties?

Simon Pollett*, Benjamin M. Althouse, Brett Forshey, George W. Rutherford, Richard G. Jarman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations

Abstract

Internet-based surveillance methods for vector-borne diseases (VBDs) using “big data” sources such as Google, Twitter, and internet newswire scraping have recently been developed, yet reviews on such “digital disease detection” methods have focused on respiratory pathogens, particularly in high-income regions. Here, we present a narrative review of the literature that has examined the performance of internet-based biosurveillance for diseases caused by vector-borne viruses, parasites, and other pathogens, including Zika, dengue, other arthropod-borne viruses, malaria, leishmaniasis, and Lyme disease across a range of settings, including low- and middle-income countries. The fundamental features, advantages, and drawbacks of each internet big data source are presented for those with varying familiarity of “digital epidemiology.” We conclude with some of the challenges and future directions in using internet-based biosurveillance for the surveillance and control of VBD.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0005871
JournalPLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Volume11
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - 30 Nov 2017
Externally publishedYes

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