Harnessing big data for communicable tropical and sub-tropical disorders

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Big data offers a real-time way to track and monitor outbreak dynamics. There was limited data to assess the utility of big data for the surveillance of epidemic outbreaks. Further research in the field is needed.

Communicable tropical and sub-tropical diseases occur solely, or mainly in the tropics, thriving in hot, and humid conditions; neglected tropical diseases are particularly overlooked. Web searches and social media updates are emerging as new approaches for complementing traditional surveillance systems. The aim of the review was to systematically assess the feasibility of exploiting novel data streams for surveillance purposes and the potential for capturing public reaction to epidemic outbreaks.

Forty-seven studies were included (1 on Chikungunya, 6 on Dengue, 19 on Ebola, 2 on Malaria, 1 on Mayaro virus, 2 on West Nile virus, and 16 on Zika). The most used data source was Twitter (25 studies).

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