Health IT

Tracking the flu epidemic? Here are 6 entrepreneurs, public health experts to follow on Twitter

The country is facing one of the worst outbreaks of the flu in recent years, with the Centers for Disease Control saying it has reached epidemic levels. Social media is playing a starring role not only in how people are following the outbreaks in their area, but also in how entrepreneurs, hospitals and public health […]

The country is facing one of the worst outbreaks of the flu in recent years, with the Centers for Disease Control saying it has reached epidemic levels. Social media is playing a starring role not only in how people are following the outbreaks in their area, but also in how entrepreneurs, hospitals and public health organizations are harnessing social media to track the disease. Here are a six entrepreneurs and public health groups on Twitter that have developed ways to track the flu and other infectious diseases as well as providing useful information.

Mark Silverberg (@skram) is the co-founder of Mappy Health, a startup that developed a tool for public health officials to track disease outbreaks from cholera to the common cold using a series of algorithms and map-reduce jobs.

Adam Sadilek (@Sadilek) is the CEO and co-founder of Fount.in, a startup that developed an artificial intelligence tool to predict the spread of disease using social media. It has developed an app called Germ Tracker (best viewed from a smartphone). You can read about Sadilek’s research at the University of Rochester in this area here.

Graham Dodge (@Graham_Dodge) is the co-founder and CEO of Sickweather, a startup that uses social media to monitor flu outbreaks and other conditions. In an interview with Mashable last year, Dodge said the tool could be even more accurate by adding data from travel patterns, event schedules, weather patterns or environmental roadside data and anticipate outbreaks.

Dr. Tom Frieden (DrFriedenCDC) is a director with the Centers for Disease Control’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. He is also a physician and disease detective.

Vaccine Finder (@VaccineFinder) A service to track where the flu  vaccine is available by entering a zip code. It was developed by Boston Children’s Hospital research team behind HealthMap.org (@Healthmap), a tool that lets users track infectious disease outbreaks.

CDC Flu (@CDCFlu) A service that provides flu-related updates from the Centers for Disease Control. It also has an app CDC Influenza for clinicians and other health care professionals to get the CDC’s latest recommendations and influenza activity updates.