In the fight against Dengue, Brazil has pioneered a novel approach using social networking sites and web search query data as a way of complementing traditional dengue surveillance techniques by providing early warnings of outbreak locations.
Thanks to software created by a collaboration between two Brazilian National Institutes of Science and Technology, Twitter is being used to monitor real time dengue fever cases and could be an efficient way of locating areas to concentrate health resources. Updated with tweets, the software contributes to “active surveillance” of dengue incidents.
Besides using social media, web search query data has also been found to be capable of tracking dengue activity in Bolivia, Brazil, India, Indonesia and Singapore. While traditional dengue data from official sources are often not available until after some substantial delay, web search query data is available in near real time. This helps people quickly get the information that they need, enabling a faster response time.
Tools such as HealthMap and Google Dengue Trends have also proven to be helpful. As these tools record searches using aggregated search data, it is possible to estimate current dengue activity around the world.