Today, public health surveillance takes into account not just officially reported data and statistics, but also data collected from informal channels such as twitter, blogs, social networking sites, chat rooms and crowdsourcing platforms. Likewise, dissemination of outbreak data is now made through multiple channels.
To get a flavour of the changing landscape of international disease surveillance, visit the website of the International Conference on Digital Disease Detection, held in February 2012, at the Joseph B. Martin Conference Centre, Harvard Medical School, and access the archived presentations and panel discussions. Scroll down the page and click on the adjacent graphic to explore the presentation topic or panel discussion of interest, and discover the amazing research underway or locate tools to further explore ideas.
While there are many improvements to the way public health can be practiced within this new surveillance landscape: decreasing time between an outbreak and formal recognition of an outbreak, which allows a faster response to containing the outbreak, for example, there are also many challenges to managing, using, and making sense of the vast flows of data. The presentations touch on techniques, analysis, applications and challenges.