Why the death of local newspapers is a disaster for outbreak surveillance: 4 things to know

Written by Brian Zimmerman | March 21, 2018

Epidemiologists tasked with tracking infectious disease outbreaks rely heavily on information from local news sources, meaning they could be left with significant information gaps as local newspapers in large swaths of the U.S. continue to fold, according to a report from STAT.

Here are four things to know.

1. Disease detectives examine data from many different sources to identify outbreaks, including local and state health agencies, and social media. Newspapers are not only helpful for identifying outbreaks, but also for predicting their trajectory, according to Maia Majumder, a PhD candidate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston and a computational epidemiology research fellow at HealthMap. HealthMap tracks global infectious disease activity online using nontraditional data sources.


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